Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
24 Jul 2021
2:23 pm

‘We can’t breathe’, say KZN residents after chemical warehouse fire

Sipho Mabena

Residents in the vicinity of the smoldering chemical warehouse have reported breathing difficulties, burning skin, and asthma attacks.

A member of a spill cleaning crew removes dead fish from the river in the uMhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve in Durban on July 18, 2021. South African authorities said on July 17, 2021, they were investigating possible pollution suspected to be linked to a spill at a chemical plant attacked during last week's riots after dead fish washed ashore. The spill was identified on July 15, after an agrochemical warehouse near the eastern port city of Durban storing chemicals used for making herbicides, pesticides and fungicides was set ablaze. African authorities are investigating possible pollution suspected to be linked to a spill at a chemical plant attacked during recent riots in area. The agrochemical warehouse which stores chemicals used for making herbicides, pesticides and fungicides was set ablaze during the unrest that started last week. (Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO / AFP)

Residents of Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal have reported sudden ailments, including difficulty breathing, spontaneous nose bleeds, coughing up blood, and seemingly healthy people suffering asthma attacks, since the fire which destroyed a chemical warehouse in the area last week. Battling a cacophony of dry coughs, Umhlanga Ridge resident Lyndall Valentine told The Citizen voice how she had to book herself into a hotel in Ballito, just so she could have some respite and breathe some fresh air. The price of the hotel stay meant this break didn't last long though, and was forced to move back to her neighbourhood that now...