South Africa: SANDF Supports Flood Victims

The Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), General Rudzani Maphwanya, says the SANDF — as the last line of defence in the Republic — has exerted itself to support the people of KwaZulu-Natal following the recent floods that ravaged the province.

“It is common knowledge that our brothers and sisters in KwaZulu-Natal have borne the devastating brunt of an overwhelming force of nature, which untimely took in its wake precious lives, swallowed whole neighbourhoods, washed away public amenities and places of commerce,” he said.

Addressing the media in Durban on Tuesday, Maphwanya said the floods obliterated all manner of economic survival for many, thus compounding the longstanding triple challenge of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

“We have seen how fellow citizens battled natural elements, with torrential rains unleashing devastating floods, wreaking havoc and claiming at least 435 lives… with many others sadly unaccounted for.

“As a country, we cannot start to imagine the sense of loss and despair that families who lost and are still missing unaccounted for loved ones must be going through as we speak,” he said.

SA Army engineers are engaged in the restoration of three bridges in Inteke, La-mesi and Kwamdekazi.

Military doctors, psychologists and nurses are currently deployed at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi for health care service support to enhance wellbeing and quality of life.

Three helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft continue to provide added support to search and rescue, and transportation of essential services to affected communities.

Maphwanya said parts of the province on the coastal plateau and inland experienced devastating floods that contributed to vast public and private infrastructure damage.

“Many families are displaced and in dire need of humanitarian and social service assistance, and the Commander-in-Chief and President has duly declared a state of disaster, with specific focus on helping KwaZulu-Natal and other afflicted provinces to regain a sense of normalcy.

“As Chief of the SANDF, I issued orders to men and women in uniform to activate deployment of specific SANDF assets and elements in support of the disaster relief efforts,” he said.

The SANDF has been tasked with numerous interventions in support of the joint and collective disaster management efforts, with many other stakeholders to help cushion the blow on the battered citizens of the province.

Maphwanya said SANDF members should not only fix bridges, rehabilitate roads, restore water supply infrastructure, purify and supply clean drinking water to communities; they should also – where possible – crowd fund and put together non-perishables and other supplies for distribution to those in need.

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