The KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet has officially declared Tuesday’s storm a provincial disaster, following the devastating impact the heavy rains had on several districts across the province

“We met this morning as provincial cabinet and officially declared it a provincial disaster. We will be going to national to see how we have funding from government for this,” Premier Willies Mchunu said on Thursday.

To get the funding, the executive council would submit an application to the national government for classification and declaration of the disaster as a provincial disaster in terms of the Section 41 of the Disaster Management Act, “since it affects more than one district”.

Mchunu briefed journalists on Thursday afternoon after visiting the bereaved families of those who had died in the storm.

Eight dead, five missing

According to Mchunu, the SA Police Service has put the official death toll at eight with five others still missing.

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“There are five people who are still uncounted for, including an infant. The trauma that has been experienced by the families will take many years to heal.”

The figure could rise as there were other figures being quoted and more people were still coming forward searching for their loved ones, he said.

Mchunu said that more than 133 schools were affected, including high schools, adding that the estimated costs to repair the damaged schools is R136 million.

“Government will do everything in its power to ensure that learners who are preparing for the final matric examinations are not affected.”