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Flood damage at Khokhoba in Resevoir Hills, KZN. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
Flood damage at Khokhoba in Resevoir Hills, KZN. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

The department of health will have to pay close to R190m to fix health infrastructure that was damaged in the KwaZulu-Natal floods, health minister Joe Phaahla says.

Phaahla spoke to journalists in parliament on Thursday as part of a report-back on government efforts in the province. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a state of disaster in response to the floods, which left 435 people dead and 54 missing, with damage to property amounting to billions of rand.

Hundreds of people have lost their houses and some communities were cut off as bridges collapsed. “In the health sector, 66 facilities have been affected, resulting in mainly roof leaks and flooding into clinics and hospitals,” Phaahla said.

In eThekwini 24 facilities were damaged, including health centres, hospitals and clinics. Fifteen facilities were affected in the Ugu district, nine in Umgungundlovu and eight in iLembe district. “Fortunately there has been minimum disruption in terms of the core services for health.”

Phaahla said the cost of repairs is estimated to be just under R190m, although work is still being on the accuracy of this figure. “But this is what has been arrived at between our national health and the provincial health infrastructure teams.”

His department continues to dispatch health-care services to displaced communities where many people have been housed in shelters, he said. This work includes helping people on chronic medication.

Water has been partially restored at some of the health facilities, he said. Infrastructure damage has limited access to water in most flood-hit areas. A number of communities now rely on water tankers.

About 101 schools are inaccessible and 124 have been extensively damaged, Phaahla said. “We can confirm that 64 learners have been reported to have passed away as a result of this disaster while five are still missing. One educator and one food handler have also been reported to have passed away.” 

Though schooling is continuing in the affected areas, attendance has been uneven. 

TimesLIVE

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