As devastating floods in Ladysmith claimed several lives on Christmas Eve, the town was again hit by flooding following heavy rainfall on Monday.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said emergency services, which included the South African Police Service (SAPS), traffic police, emergency services, and social partners, were on high alert, closely monitoring different areas due to the Level 2 warning issued by the South African Weather Services.
“Upon realising that a significant amount of water was flowing into the Ladysmith town, some of the roads, including the N11 between Newcastle and Ladysmith, had to be temporarily closed to mitigate the risk,” said department spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi.
“Some of the roads will remain closed as the town is still flooded.”
The department said approximately 70 people were evacuated from Ladysmith central and taken to an Indoor Sports Centre to ensure everyone's safety.
“Our teams also responded to the Steadville Township area, where 15 people had to be evacuated to the community hall, and another 23 in Matiwane were placed in the community hall for their safety.”
The Provincial Disaster Teams, working with the Al-Imdaad Foundation for Disaster and the South African Red Cross, have provided disaster relief to the affected people, including blankets and mattresses.
“Our teams are monitoring the situation, and once the area has been confirmed to be safe, they will all return to their homes. At this stage, neither fatalities nor injuries have been recorded as a result of this heavy rainfall,” Mngadi said.
“Our teams are on the ground conducting assessments of the damages to households, businesses and infrastructure.”
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, has applauded the cooperation between the community and the disaster management teams and communities in mitigating risk by adhering to the evacuation plans to save lives.
During the Christmas Eve flash floods, seven members of the Msimango family who were travelling in a double cab bakkie died after their vehicle was swept away after the river burst its banks.
The youngest victim was four-years-old.
A total of 22 people died during those floods.
According to the KZN provincial Disaster Management, a total of 40 people lost their lives during December and January as a result of inclement weather in the province.
Five people are still reported missing.