Health minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, says more than 630 schools were affected by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal with 101 of them being inaccessible and 124 suffering extensive damage.
Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga together with KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu accompanied by senior officials visited the affected schools in the various districts. Addressing the media in Pretoria on behalf of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster, Phaahla said the basic education sector has been severely affected.
“We can confirm that 64 learners have been reported to be deceased while five are still missing. One educator and one food handler have also passed away,” Phaahla said at Thursday’s briefing.
Schooling is proceeding elsewhere in the province but that in the affected areas, attendance is uneven.
“Attendance is uneven but we remain hopeful that with all the support there will be a gradual increase to learners and teachers returning to school.We will also monitor on how youth and youth with disabilities will return to school and how this will impact on their education. It is in times like this that we need to collaborate, unite and focus on solutions that will provide relief to all those in need.
“We appreciate all the offers of assistance from partners in the private and public sectors. We extend our appreciation to our social partners who have initiated various interventions to assist in helping all those in distress. It will be a long road but together we can so much more to minimise the impact of the devastating floods,” Phaahla said.
Earlier this month, the cabinet declared a National State of Disaster in response to floods, which have wreaked havoc in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape. At a briefing on Sunday, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala, said the construction of temporary residential units has started at Ilembe District, Ugu and eThekwini.
The premier reported that, as of Sunday, 17,438 households have been affected by the disaster while 121,687 people were affected, and 435 people lost their lives.