#KZNStorm: Motsoaledi tours damaged hospitals as death toll rises to 11

On Tuesday the province was battered by heavy downpours that closed highways, flooded homes and damaged state hospitals.

Health Minister Aaron looking Motsoaledi during walkabout of King Edward hospital forllowing a fatal storm. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi conducts a walkabout at the King Edward hospital in Durban, the death toll from the devastating KwaZulu-Natal storms has now risen to 11.

On Tuesday the province was battered by heavy downpours that closed highways, flooded homes and damaged at least five state hospitals.

KZN police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said: “From our side, we can confirm that there are at least 11 people who have died so far. There are still others who are missing and we’re still looking for them.”

Motsoaledi visited the female surgical ward where puddles of water are still being cleared and patients had to be moved to other sections.

He says there have been longstanding plans to build new hospitals since 2009 but funding has been difficult.

“The reason why I’m here is that I wanted to really see and comfort those who are still in hospital. We really feel for them and will try our best because building a new hospital obviously is not something we do overnight.”

OTHER VISITS

The KwaZulu-Natal government has visited one of the patients who was seriously injured when a wall collapsed at a state hospital during the storms.

Senior officials held a briefing at the Umlazi facility where a mother and her daughter were killed by falling debris.

The provincial government has shared its integrated plan on how to help residents across KZN affected by the destruction.

KZN government officials have conducted site visits at King Edward Hospital where the operating theatre is out of commission as a result of Tuesday’s storms.

After that, a briefing was held at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi and was led by Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi.

Thusi says there are no plans to make an appeal to the National Treasury to provide relief.

“At this stage, we cannot confirm a formal declaration of disaster as processes are underway to take stock of the damages. And once assessments have been concluded, a comprehensive report will be assessed by the provincial executive in terms of its magnitude.”

She says the damage is estimated to run into millions of rands.

“At this stage, the focus remains of recovery and the provision of relief efforts while assessment of the damage is underway.”

All families of the victims will be visited by KZN Premier Willies Mchunu on Thursday.

Nine schools have also been impacted by the weather with concerns being raised as matric pupils prepare for their final exams.

The Education Department says there are plans to send mobile classrooms to the affected schools.