THE KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet has officially declared Tuesday's storm a provincial disaster after the devastating effects the heavy rain 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 Section 41 of the Disaster Management Act, "since it affects more than one district".
Mchunu briefed journalists on Thursday afternoon after visiting bereaved families of those who had died in the storm.
According to Mchunu, the SAPS put the official death toll at eight, with five people missing.
"There are five people who are still unaccounted for, including an infant. The trauma that has been experienced by the families will take many years to heal."
The toll could rise as there were other figures being quoted and people were still coming forward searching for their loved ones, Mchunu said.
More than 133 schools were affected, including high schools, and the estimated cost to repair damaged schools was R136 million.
"Government will do everything in its power to ensure that learners preparing for the final matric examination are not affected."