Durban - KWAZULU-NATAL, still reeling after the devastation of last month’s floods, was battered by heavy rains at the weekend which caused extensive damage to roads and infrastructure in some areas.
The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said evacuations had to take place in uMlazi and areas north of Durban, including in oThongathi and uMdloti. However, no fatalities related to the floods or missing people had been reported.
The SA Weather Service issued a level 10 alert for disruptive rainfall on Saturday for most parts of the province.
In an update yesterday, Vincent Ngubane of the Disaster Unit in eThekwini Municipality said the highest recorded rainfall was 268mm.
He said most rainfall was experienced over north and central areas of eThekwini. The Bluff and uMdloti received high rainfall at 267mm and 268mm respectively.
The report revealed that more than 20 roads across the city had been affected by the rain.
The municipality said three bodies had been discovered, however, one person had died of natural causes while the other two had been shot and their bodies were found in rivers.
It said some people had been moved because of the flooding, and a family of four in ward 40 had been evacuated after their informal dwelling collapsed and they were moved to KwaNozaza care centre.
A further 190 people were moved from Tehuis to Wema Hall in uMlazi and 44 units at Waterways Retirement Village in oThongathi were evacuated and the residents taken to St Catherine’s.
The city also said the uMdloti water treatment works was washed away and the access road to the area was closed off due to flooding.
Geoff Pullan, councillor of ward 58, said oThongathi, uMdloti and Seatides had been severely affected by the rains.
“Bellamont Road has been damaged again by the floods, we have at least three to four flats that have been washed away. The entrance to uMdloti has been washed away and residents have no access to their homes. North Beach Road has been badly damaged, we have residents who have been rescued from that vicinity. There is a whole lot of sand that has piled on to the roads, affecting the entrance into La Mercy and we need a TLB to help remove the sand.
“We also need a detour cut at Bellamont Road so residents can have some access to roads. We have the Department of Roads doing what they can, but really we need all the help we can get from eThekwini Municipality and national government.”
The Specialised Tactical Accident Rescue Team (Start) said they were involved with evacuating people from a building in uMdloti.
“We are grateful there has been no loss of life but unfortunately the damage to infrastructure, here in uMdloti, I think is worse than the April floods.”
Zain Sooiswala of eThekwini Secure said that four men who flew down from Lenasia for a function in uMdloti had had to be rescued.
“They had tried to contact a few people until I got the message and raised the alarm. There was massive help from community members who came out with 4x4 vehicles and tried to get them out. But we had to get Search and Rescue members out there and after five hours they got across the mudslides via boat and rescued these guys. It was an incredible rescue and we are glad they are safe, although shaken up.”
Isipingo was also affected by rain. Shad Nowbuth, ward councillor in ward 90 in Isipingo, said that roads were flooded in Isipingo Beach and a burst pipe caused water outages.
Head of electricity in eThekwini Maxwell Mthembu spoke on the impact on electricity, saying they had been proactive in limiting damage and the situation was not as bad as the last time or what they had expected it would be.
Mthembu said there were substations that his unit had turned off to avoid damage and in some areas customers had asked them to turn off some substations due to signs of flooding.
He said once these substations had been assessed, they would be turned back on.
Councillors in the executive committee praised the city officials yesterday, saying they were better prepared this time around compared to the floods last month and the officials admitted they had learnt a lot from that disaster.
DA councillor Nicole Graham said the council had handled the rains much better this time around.
“I must say that the city seems to be better prepared for the rains this time around,” said Graham.
Giving a provincial outlook, Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka said that so far the most damage had occurred along the coastal and north-eastern parts of KZN.
Hlomuka said areas under the Ilembe District Municipality were hugely affected with a number of people left homeless and the road network infrastructure being affected.
He added that in the King Cetshwayo District, severe damage was reported to the Ngobese family’s house which collapsed due to heavy rains and wind.
“A family of nine members living in a one-room house has been moved following damage to their house. The Zululand District is experiencing heavy rainfall and is being closely monitored.”
Hlomuka said that relief interventions were ongoing to ensure that all community halls with displaced people were receiving adequate relief assistance, social support services and medical assistance.
“In the event flood-prone areas need to evacuate people due to rising water levels, the open halls will be able to accommodate them. So far, social partners such as Red Cross, Al-Imdaad Foundation and many others have been activated to support municipalities with humanitarian aid and hot meals.”