Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has confirmed that five people were killed in eThekwini after severe thunderstorms left a trail of destruction in coastal areas of the province including the eThekwini Metro, Ilembe and Ugu district municipalities.
KZN Cogta spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said severe thunderstorms, accompanied by strong winds, have left a trail of destruction in various parts of KZN.
He said the most significant damages were reported in the eThekwini Metro, KwaDukuza and Ndwedwe local municipalities at this stage.
Mngadi said their disaster management teams responded to several calls between 8pm and 10pm on Saturday when the thunderstorm battered the coastal areas, causing severe damage to households, businesses and infrastructure.
“At this stage, five fatalities have been confirmed under eThekwini Metro, while two people have been reported missing,” Mngadi said.
Two people died in the Folweni area after a retaining wall collapsed on their structure. Another person was confirmed dead in Umlazi’s K Section due to a structural collapse. In another incident in oThongathi, two family members died when their shack collapsed on them during the heavy rains. Two more people went missing after floods washed away their informal structure in oThongathi.”
Search and rescue teams, led by the SAPS K9 Unit, IPSS Medical Rescue and Reaction Unit SA, are currently on the ground conducting search and rescue operations.
Mngadi said that the heavy rains have also caused damage to water and electricity infrastructure, leaving some communities in eThekwini and Stanger without water and electricity.
“Our disaster response teams, working with all affected municipalities and our social partners, are still on the ground providing relief such as blankets, mattresses, and box-B, which contain all the amenities a human being needs on a daily basis,” Mngadi said.
He said municipalities have also dispatched water tankers to areas affected as families are engaged in mop-up operations.
On infrastructure, Mngadi said that in eThekwini Metro, some roads and bridges have been affected by the heavy rain, resulting in some roads being completely closed, limiting access to communities, social, and economic facilities. The mop-up operation is currently under way, including the removal of fallen trees, while several roads that were washed away will remain closed for safety.
“Our preliminary reports indicate that eThekwini has so far recorded over 250 households with over 1 000 people affected at this stage. As a precautionary measure, eThekwini Municipality has closed all beaches in the north, and some in the southern region are closed until further notice. Only uMgababa Beach remains open in the south region,” Mngadi said.
“In KwaDukuza, under Ilembe District, about 70 households have been confirmed to have been affected due to flooding affecting 300 people. Some roads in various areas were severely damaged, and traffic law enforcement has decided to close them to ensure the safety of motorists.
“In Ndwedwe, under Ilembe District, several calls were received by disaster teams from distressed families calling for help. So far, 70 homes have been affected, and our teams are currently providing relief, working with our social partners.
“In the South Coast under Ugu District, several roads had to be closed and traffic was diverted after flash floods damaged major roads. There were several households that were being assessed in the area of Port Shepstone,” Mngadi said.
Earlier, IPSS Medical Rescue reported that heavy rains experienced on Saturday night caused flash floods and rivers to burst their banks throughout the KZN North Coast.
“As communities take stock of the damage, four people have been reported as missing by their families.
“Two people have gone missing from their home in oThongathi, and a further two have gone missing while attempting to cross rivers in Groutville and Maphumulo,” IPSS Medical Rescue said.
Cogta MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi expressed her heartfelt condolences to all the families that have lost their loved ones as a result of inclement weather. She also expressed her sympathy to all who have suffered losses, including damage to their valuables and businesses.
Sithole-Moloi activated other sector departments to come on board to provide all forms of assistance our communities need during this difficult period.
“Our province has been hard hit by yet another devastating flood. We have received reports that schools, roads, and bridges in municipalities such as eThekwini, Ndwedwe, and KwaDukuza have been severely damaged. Teams are on the ground to assess the damage and provide emergency relief to those affected.
“Disaster management teams are compiling reports to ensure a consolidated government response. We also have law-enforcement agencies on the ground, including Road Traffic Inspectorates who are diverting traffic in areas where transport infrastructure has been washed away,” Sithole-Moloi said.
We are also co-ordinating with other departments such as Social Development, Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Education and Eskom to assist us in providing a comprehensive response in all aspects. Our teams will be in contact with all the affected families to provide the necessary support we normally provide to the victims.”
She added that disaster teams will continue with assessments to quantify the extent of the damages and cost as a result of heavy rains. The information will be updated once verified by our teams on the ground. As more rains are expected to come, their teams will remain on high alert and continue to provide the needed relief.
SA Weather Service forecaster Wisani Maluleke said the service was not expecting a lot of rain over Durban and KZN on Sunday, but there is a 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms.
“However, the days when we’re expecting a lot of rain to come through is Wednesday and Thursday,” Maluleke said.
Maluleke shared figures of areas that received a lot of rainfall in Durban and along the north and south coasts on Saturday:
- Virginia - 96mm
- Richards Bay - 71mm
- Port Edward - 64mm
- Mandeni - 67mm
“Our coastal areas received a lot of rainfall last night (Saturday) and we are not surprised with the reports of flooded areas… in KZN, especially Durban areas,” Maluleke said.
He said that since it is summer, they are still expecting a lot of rain.
WhatsApp your views on this story at 071 485 7995.