Durban - Mop-up operations are under way in uMdloti, north of Durban, and parts of KwaZulu-Natal that were affected by the second wave of flash floods.
On Monday, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, accompanied by members of the executive council and eThekwini Municipality leadership as well as councillors assessed areas that were hardest hit by the weekend floods which left a trail of destruction.
Last month, more than 440 people died in flash floods that destroyed homes and roads in KZN. Zikalala said last weekend’s rainfall and the damages would delay the rebuilding process.
“The work that had been done had to stop. We are now incurring more costs. Teams worked tirelessly to clear the roads on Sunday to allow motorists access in certain parts of the north,” he said.
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda conducted an in-loco inspection of uMdloti to assess the damage. Homes, roads and other infrastructure bore the brunt of the weekend’s heavy rains, particularly in uMdloti, Kaunda said.
He said he had to prioritise visiting uMdloti given the severity of the damage in the area. The eThekwini water treatment plant had been damaged and this would affect water reticulation to residents in this area.
Videos and images shared on social media sites showed the devastation in uMdloti, with one home completely submerged in sand. Roads were damaged and some were affected by mudslides.
“The teams had to evacuate some residents overnight as the rain continued to batter the city. Rain gauge and river level analyses were undertaken continuously to identify vulnerable and high-risk areas. Most rainfall was experienced over north and central areas of eThekwini with Bluff and uMdloti receiving high levels of rainfall,” Kaunda said.
In Mpumalanga Township, Hammarsdale, residents were also severely affected by the weekend’s floods.
Homeowner Zinhle Mhlongo said her homestead was flooded while she was at work and her family was scattered and staying with relatives in different areas.
She appealed to the authorities for assistance with the drainage pipes so that they can remove the water and rebuild their home again.
Meanwhile, at least 53 areas in the eThekwini Municipality have reported power outages after the second floods since the start of the year.
The municipality reported a list of areas without power on its social media sites but comments from residents around the city suggested that the number may increase as assessments continued.
“Please note that we are aware of outages affecting the following areas and our technicians are working on restoring power,” the city said.
The listed areas stretched from the North to the South Coast of KZN.
Residents north of Durban were among the hardest hit during the weekend’s flooding, as blocks of flats, houses and informal settlements were washed away during mudslides.
According to the SA Weather Service, coastal towns were the most affected areas, with the situation warranting a level 10 warning.
Residents in the northern parts of Durban had to evacuate their homes, including Premier Zikalala, who lives in La Mercy.
“I worked till late midnight on evacuations of people from floods.
“Later I found that I had to be evacuated as all roads had been washed away,” Zikalala said.
Community halls were used to house displaced residents.
Many residents around the city who were affected during last month’s floods, which claimed 445 lives, were still living in community halls at the time of this weekend’s flooding.
The M4 Ruth First Highway was also damaged, with parts of it washing away in La Mercy.
“A number of roads and bridges in eThekwini, especially uMdloti, La Mercy and others, have been affected and we urge road users to be on the alert and to stay at home if possible,” the provincial government said.