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eThekwini residents face risk of water diseases after floods damage infrastructure

Informal settlements on river banks bore the brunt of the floods, and now there is the risk of residents contracting water-borne diseases. File picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Informal settlements on river banks bore the brunt of the floods, and now there is the risk of residents contracting water-borne diseases. File picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 11, 2022

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Durban - Residents in KwaZulu-Natal’s eThekwini region face the risk of a potential outbreak in water-borne diseases after the recent floods destroyed major infrastructure, according to the department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka said due to damage caused during the floods, there is a risk of contamination of water sources such as rivers, which supply water to many residents living along riverbanks in informal settlements.

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Hlomuka was speaking during a virtual briefing on Wednesday to discuss the impact and way forward in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and last month's flooding disaster.

“The infrastructure damages owing to recent torrential rains pose a risk of the contamination of water sources such as rivers.

“Most water resources (rivers) in eThekwini District have been found to have a significantly high percentage of water contaminants (mainly E.Coli from faeces) due to raw sewer spillages owing to water treatment works infrastructure damages.

“We are appealing to communities to exercise extreme caution when dealing with water from rivers,” he said.

Water-borne diseases include cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis and gastroenteritis, to mention a few.

Water supply into eThekwini has also been heavily impacted by the floods, with residents going for almost two weeks without water and in some cases, electricity.

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Umgeni Water also confirmed that two aqueducts, which supply raw water into the Durban water treatment plant, had been damaged. This meant the supply into the city had to decrease to avoid a shortage.

But Hlomuka revealed that water supply had been slowly restored in most regions around the City.

“The inner West Region has improved from 30% to 85%. Outer West Region, from 45% to 70%. The Central Region, from 45% to 80%.

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The southern region, from 15% to 80% and the northern region, from 40% to 45%.

It was revealed that in both the public and private sector, R25 billion in damages were caused as a result of the flood.

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