Newcastle's Trim Park was under water after the Ncandu River burst its banks after heavy rains. The water had subsided by the evening, but the park was covered in debris.
Newcastle's Trim Park was under water after the Ncandu River burst its banks after heavy rains. The water had subsided by the evening, but the park was covered in debris.

Rain floods homes, damages roads

By Gugu Mbonambi and Mercury correspondents Time of article published Jan 5, 2011

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More than 50 homes were flooded, roads were damaged and water supplies to several kwaZulu-Natal towns were under threat as a result of persistent rains in the province, municipal officials reported on Tuesday.

Newcastle executive mayor Afzul Rehman said he had been on the road since 1am on Tuesday, assessing the damage caused by storms in the area.

“The Ngagane River was overflowing. As a result, about 50 houses were flooded and five were seriously damaged in Suryaville.

“Luckily there were no injuries, but people’s furniture was damaged and the affected families had to be temporarily relocated,” he said.

Zululand district municipal manager Johan de Klerk said pumps used to siphon water to the treatment works were washed away by the rain, resulting in disruptions to water supplies in some areas.

Newcastle taxi owner Thulani Hadebe said the town’s taxi rank was closed due to flooding.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesman Lennox Mabaso said several houses in kwaMashu were flooded and a few in Eshowe destroyed.

“We are still experiencing heavy rains in the province and all our disaster management centres have been activated. We urge people to keep in touch with our disaster management centres,” he said.

Ladysmith municipality assistant manager Thomas Watkins said there had been extensive damage in parts of the municipal district with homes in rural areas being washed away.

“We have been busy since last week and have sent out our officials with tents and blankets to assist families whose homes were flooded,” he said.

Homes in Driefontein, Roosboom, eZakheni and Steadville were flooded. The main route from Ladysmith to Newcastle was also flooded.

Siyanda Nkehli, the uThukela district municipal manager, said the water supply to Bergville could be affected if the rain persisted.

The pumps used to supply clean water to the area were under water and unable to function properly.

Transport MEC Willies Mchunu’s spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said many roads in the province had been affected by the heavy rain.

“We have reports that roads and bridges in areas such as Nquthu, Nkandla and Ladysmith have been severely damaged. A team has been dispatched to assess the damage, and they will put together a report on how the department can assist,” he said.

On Tuesday, police search and rescue unit commander Captain Troy Allison said the SAPS Airwing and a rescue team were still looking for a 15-year-old boy presumed to have been swept out to sea on Sunday.

The teenager went missing after falling off a raft in the Tugela River.

Weather service forecaster Lucky Makhwedzha said on Tuesday that the wet weather was unlikely to clear before Friday.

“We can expect cloudy conditions with a 60 percent chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday. But it seems like there will be a smaller chance of rain on Friday, with a small possibility of showers in the afternoon,” he said.

In Pretoria, scores of residents north of Pretoria have been washed out of their homes by a heavy downpour in Hammanskraal on Monday night.

Residents in Suurman, Dilopye, Sekampaneng, Tamboville and Unit 7 in Temba swept water from their homes flooded homes on Tuesday.

Residents said flooding during the rainy season had become a problem in Hammanskraal due to the lack of proper stormwater drainage systems.

Meanwhile, Cape Town was in the grip of a heatwave on Tuesday and emergency workers rushed to the aid of two people who collapsed after suffering from dehydration.

A toddler and a teenager suffering from dehydration had to be airlifted off Table Mountain’s popular Platteklip gorge.

The South African Weather Service has issued a heatwave warning for the Cape metropole, the West Coast and parts of the Winelands.

Tuesday’s maximum temperature was 38ºC degrees on average and the service predicted the same for today.

The highest temperature recorded was in Vrendendal, 44ºC degrees. - The Mercury

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