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11 days later, Durban man still searching for relatives missing since floods hit

The area in Ntuzuma where Lindani Zungu’s aunt and three other relatives are said to be trapped under since Monday, April 11. Image: Supplied

The area in Ntuzuma where Lindani Zungu’s aunt and three other relatives are said to be trapped under since Monday, April 11. Image: Supplied

Published Apr 22, 2022

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Durban - A 21 year-old man Ntuzuma is still searching for his relatives whose bodies are believed to be either trapped under the rubble after their home was washed or they have been washed into a nearby river.

Lindani Zungu from Ntuzuma area 5 - Nhlungwane, said that his 56 year-old aunt, her two grandchildren aged 13 and 11, and a 36 year-old male, who had lived next door to him, has been missing since around midnight on Monday, 11 April

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Zungu said he called tried calling the authorities to help search for them but was not successful.

He said on around midnight into Tuesday morning, when the heavy rains came pouring down in excess of 200mm, his aunt’s house could be seen getting washed away.

Lindani Zungu’s aunt Nkosazane. Image: Supplied.

From the images Zungu sent to IOL, a plot of land is seen covered by sand, stones and other rubble.

Lindani Zungu’s other relative, a 36 year-old male, who is also believed to be trapped under the rubble. Image: Supplied.

“We have been searching for them for the entire week. We got help from the community members and we called the police who told us call rescue teams but we have heard nothing so far.

“We tried digging in the rubble, we looked on the other side of the river. We tried using all of the equipment we had but found nothing. We think the river might have taken them because we found her clothes [aunt] on the other side of the river.

“They could be in the river of under the sand and rocks at home,” Zungu told IOL.

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But Zungu’s is not the only heartache across the city of Durban, as many other residents are desperately searching for missing loved ones and even pets.

The two children, Unathi, 11 and Asikelele 13, believed to be trapped under the rubble in Ntuzuma. Image: Supplied.

Search and rescue operations have been led through a joint effort by state organs, based at the Virginia airfield in Durban north. Helicopters were used to cover areas that were rendered inaccessible by the flooding.

Not too far from the Virginia base, a domestic worker was found under the rubble after the family she worked for had been searching for her for almost nine days, according to an IOL report.

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The walls of her quarters reportedly caved in, trapping her inside on April 12.

Aid organisation, Gift of the Givers which was called to assist, arrived with the machinery necessary for the difficult rescue operation.

“Gift of the Givers sent in heavy equipment to assist in the confined space. The equipment and operators were sponsored by two companies who went out of their way to assist in the search and avoid further structural damage to two homes on the property to prevent collapse of both homes,” said Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

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According to KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, at least 448 people lost their lives during the floods, while an unconfirmed number remained missing.

Following the devastation, residents around parts of Durban have been left for almost two weeks without water and electricity as critical infrastructure was damaged.

IOL

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