A woman and a child have been killed in Zwelisha, north of Durban, after the home they lived in collapsed while they were both asleep on Saturday evening as the torrential downpours continued throughout KwaZulu-Natal.
Police in KwaZulu-Natal confirmed an inquest docket was opened for investigation after a 55-year-old woman and her 4-year-old grandson were found dead in the Zwelisha informal settlement.
“Police responded to reports of a structural collapse and upon arrival it was discovered the wall had collapsed and fell on the two.
“Heavy rains are suspected to have been the cause behind the collapsing of the wall,” KZN Police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said.
KZN-based private security and emergency response company Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) were called to the scene to assess a collapsed wooden and iron home that once stood next to a river.
It is understood the community members first looked for the occupants of the home but called Rusa when they could not find them.
“Reaction Officers were immediately dispatched and arrived on scene with the Verulam SAPS. First Responders with assistance from the community sifted through the debris.
“They discovered the lifeless bodies of a woman and her grandson on the bed. The boy is believed to be approximately four years old.
“It is believed that they were asleep when the home caved in,” Rusa said.
Authorities in the province have had their hands full trying to mitigate damages and evacuate communities from low-lying areas prone to flooding.
Earlier this week, the department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) issued a warning for flooded bridges in Maphumulo Local Municipality in northern KZN and in Mariannhill, west of Durban, the Mercury reported.
Statistics measuring the destruction caused by the inclement weather over the festive period and into the new year, indicate that 40 people have died.
In other northern parts of KZN like Tongaat, private emergency response team IPSS Medical Rescue said their teams worked throughout the night as people were trapped in houses and cars.
“A river running through the Tongaat CBD flooded, leaving two people stuck in a tree and a third person stuck on a wall surrounded by rapidly rising water.
“The three people were brought to safety by members and were found to have not sustained any serious injuries,” IPSS’ Samantha Meyrick said.
IPSS Medical reported no fatalities.
Kyle Van Reenan from Emer-G-Med also said teams responded to calls of entrapments, as rising water levels forced many to higher ground in the eThekwini region.
“Multiple calls came in through various support networks for localised flooding, structural collapses and residents stuck in their homes,” Van Reenan said.