By Daily News Reporter
Tourists and residents were evacuated from resorts, and roads and bridges have been closed as drenching rain led to flooding in many areas of KwaZulu-Natal.
Heavy rains caused havoc in parts of the province overnight, washing away bridges, flooding roads and causing damage to homes and property.
According to the National Sea Rescue Institute's Craig Lambinon, residents of Club Marina at Ifafa were rescued at midnight after all but three homes in the area were submerged.
"Emergency services had to use jet skis to rescue people because there was too much debris in the water to use a rubber duck boat," he said, adding that he was not aware of any casualties.
Lambinon also reported that a rescue boat was used to rescue 20 people at the Pont Holiday Resort at Port Edward, "which is pretty much under water".
Lambinon said the NSRI's Durban and Shelley Beach stations are on high alert because of widespread flooding on the South Coast.
Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu, said the Umzinto bridge (P197) has been completely washed away.
No injuries have been reported in the area and traffic is being diverted. Both lanes of the N2 near the Umzinto off-ramp have been closed and traffic has been diverted to the R102.
Head of the Hibiscus Coast Protection Services , Victor Chetty, said at least 200 people had been taken to local community halls for shelter in the Ugu district.
Other areas that have suffered flooding include Amanzimtoti, Port Shepstone and Merebank.
An upset Cecelia Terblanche, who lives in Aralia Crescent, Merewent, phoned the Daily News this morning and said she feared her home would be flooded. "No one is going to work or school ."
Terblanche said her neighbour's house was partially submerged and the rising water was lapping at her doorstep. "We need sandbags desperately," she said.
Weather forecaster Anton Schutte, who lives in Amanzimtoti, said: "The streets in the CBD are filling up with water and some people could not leave their driveways."
Schutte said the heavy rain was expected to continue for the next two or three days.
"Durban and Amanzimtoti can expect between 150 and 200mm of rain and the temperatures will range between a minimum of 10°C maximum of 20°C."
The heaviest rainfall was recorded in the Doonside area.
Residents in Merebank reported flooding near the racecourse and traffic heading south on the Inkosi Albert Luthuli freeway had slowed to a crawl.
A fire department spokesperson said the Quality Street off-ramp had been closed to traffic.
In Durban, hundreds of motorists were caught in heavy traffic as mudslides and standing water covered the roads. - Daily News Reporters and Sapa