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Durban - Two children drowned in a flooded river and a number of shacks have collapsed, killing at least eight people, after heavy rains lashed KwaZulu-Natal this week.
The railway bridge in Inanda Road, Waterfall, which began to cave in earlier in the week, is still unstable and metro police say the normally busy road will be closed to traffic indefinitely.
“We were only expecting a two-day closure, but the damage seems to be worse than expected,” spokesman Eugene Msomi said.
On Wednesday, in the Hlazane area, in the far north, local men waded into the raging Pongola River to look for the bodies of two children who had tried to cross and been washed away on Tuesday.
They found the body of Fezile Mabika, 9, but not that of Nelisiwe Gumede, 14.
But on Wednesday at 5pm the police search and rescue unit found Nelisiwe’s body.
Councillor Johnson Gwala said when police divers arrived the community were already in the river and on the banks searching for the girl.
Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said the rescue divers could not search at night, which was why they had not begun the operation the previous evening.
“It is dangerous to search in the dark, they had to wait until daylight,” he said.
Four other children, who were with Fezile and Nelisiwe, swam to safety apparently after taking sugar cane. When they saw a farm worker approaching, they ran away.
Pongola police have opened an inquest docket.
Closer to Durban, eThekwini Municipality spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng said that shack dwellers were the most affected by the weather.
“Several people were trapped under collapsing structures and buildings and there were reports of injured people including children,” he said.
Affected areas included the Hibiscus Coast where 36 shacks collapsed.
In Umzumbe, four houses were flooded and collapsed.
In Umdoni, nine houses collapsed and one caught fire after being struck by lightning.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said her department was visiting the affected wards to provide emergency aid.
“We have not finalised our assessment of the damage, but can estimate that there will be huge costs in respect of the damage to public and private property,” she said.
Weather forecaster Mduduzi Mthembu said that there was a 60 percent chance of showers in the province on Thursday, but this would drop to 30 percent on Friday.