SANDF deploys 10 000 troops to assist with disaster relief in KZN.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is sending 10 000 troops to help the flood-stricken KwaZulu-Natal in a drive called Operation Chariot.
The SANDF said as a result of the torrential rains and downpours that triggered floods and mudslides, more than 30 000 people have been affected by the "natural disaster that caused the loss of life and livelihood".
The floods have affected more than 30 000 people with over 400 deaths now confirmed.
SANDF spokesperson Andries Mokoena Mahapa says the troops are deployed in support of provincial disaster relief structures.
"The SA Army will render support as part of Op CHARIOT in erecting field accommodation, provisioning of fresh water with its water purification systems, and the deployment of electricians for restoring power and plumbers for restoring the water supplies in the areas that have been affected by the floods," he says.
"The SA Army pledges includes 31 x 10 000 litre Water bunkers, 3 x water provisioning systems, 2 x water points with 1 litre bottled water/plastic sachets, a Platoon of electricians and plumbers, 60 x 16x16 tents and bedding for the affected communities.
"The assistance of the SANDF is executed under Operation CHARIOT, which is a registered SANDF operation, where the SANDF provides humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to all South Africans, when and where required," says Mahapa.
In addition the chief air force will provide air capabilities to help with disaster management efforts and activities like search and rescue, extraction, reconnaissance/assessment missions, trooping transportation of humanitarian relief equipment of goods.
This will be in the form of two medium utility helicopters, two light utility helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft.
"The South African Military Health Services (SAMHS) will provide operational health support in the disaster area of KwaZulu Natal, added Mahapa."
This will include providing medical support (including ambulances) to the SANDF in various positions in KwaZulu Natal as required to support the disaster relief efforts and providing doctors,nurses, psychologists, social workers and pharmacists as needed.
The SANDF will also provide logistics in the form of technical expertise to help in the disaster management efforts and activities. This could include construction equipment and artisans.