At least 124 houses were destroyed and more than 14 people died in uMlazi alone, when heavy downpours hit low-lying areas of Durban on Tuesday. Other affected areas included Chatsworth, Malvern, Queensburgh, and Mariannhill.
A real time video of the house collapsing and disappearing into a muddy cavity went viral on social media this week, showing helpless neighbours watching in horror.
Speaking at the gaping hole where her RDP house used to stand in H-section on Saturday, Fikelephi Mungwe, 62, said she did not even know where to begin to pick up the pieces of her life.
“My heart is broken. I have been trying so long and so hard to make a living for my kids to have shelter over their heads.
‘‘I was still at the Easter weekend church service when my son called to tell me the house had collapsed,” a teary Mungwe said.
“Nothing came out of the house, not even a water bottle.
‘‘I am staying at another woman’s house at V-section. All I was left with are the clothes on my back and my ID, which was in my bag because I’m a pensioner.”
Mungwe, an uMlazi resident since 1974, said her house had been built and allocated to her as an RDP housing beneficiary in around 2010.
A house above where Mungwe’s house used to stand hangs by a thread and is in danger of collapsing, as its yard was washed away, leaving the concrete slab, which is not supported by foundations, exposed. Municipal workers are still in the area fixing broken power lines.
The official overall death toll from the floods in Durban stands at 67, revised down from 70. Government agencies, private companies, and NGOs have pledged millions of rand in aid to assist the victims.
Ward 32 councillor Amon Dladla said the municipality and provincial government were in talks about relocating the victims of the floods to another place yet to be identified.
Dladla reiterated that government would assist victims’ families with burial costs, including transportation, tents, food, coffins, and other related costs.