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Bluff, Montwood areas count the cost of #DurbanStorm

Southlands Sun spent the morning with the Bluff and Montclair ward councillors on Wednesday, 11 October, to assess the damage caused by Tuesday's fierce #DurbanStorm.

Homes, schools, businesses and roads were heavily affected by winds of 70km/h which caused the driving rain to cause flash flooding in parts of the city. Areas south of Durban, including Paddock, had more than 140 mm (5.5 inches) from the storm,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.

READ: WATCH: Torrential weather causes mayhem across Durban South

Bluff beaches, including Ansteys have taken a knock from the winds. On the Bluff, sand banks have been eroded, creating huge holes and exposing pipeline and sewage and electrical infrastructure. Bluff councillor, JP Prinsloo said it has been a hectic 24 hours but thanks to the help of the ward committee, community members and parks and road department, damage control has already got underway. “A lot of people have stepped up to the plate to help. We have had fallen trees, power outages, a few burst pipes and sinkholes in the roads, which we are trying to gain control over. But I have to express my disappointment in the lack of interest that the disaster management has in our situation,” said Cllr Prinsloo.


Prinsloo and executive secretary Zoe Moore, who is also chairman of the ward committee’s vulnerable groups portfolio, set up a Whatsapp group with all stakeholders including police, COP, CPF and so on, as a way to share information on the damage caused as well as relay instructions to the relevant people. COP was responsible for the roads and reporting of all damages and Zoe has been co-ordinating relief efforts. “We used social media to reach out to community members affected and used the councillor’s office as a base of operations,” said Cllr Prinsloo.


He extended his thanks to Jacque Stephens for setting up a tent at the Pigeon Club in Tara Road to house the people who were displaced, especially from the informal settlements. “17 people who are still without homes have been housed at Shepherd’s Keep. We are still monitoring the area and groups for any more faults. He also thanked Medic Mike and Andy Russell for lending a hand. “We are collecting blankets, clothes and tin foods. The drop-off point is at my office – 49 Old Mission Road. I’m impressed with the community members who volunteered and to the two young men who directed traffic yesterday on Tara Road. We need to come up with a strategy to create better communication and to get information out faster to the community,” he added. An app has been created (watch video) to assist Bluff residents to report faults and to keep them up to date with news from Councillor Prinsloo.

READ MORE: UPDATE: South Durban storm drives road closures

On the other side of the M4, ward 64 councillor Gavin Hegter took the Sun on a drive throughout the Montwood area, to see the extenstive damage suffered in areas such as Montclair, Woodhaven, Woodlands and Yellowwood Park. Fallen trees wrought most of the damage, with most roads sporting at least one. “These trees are old and they were ripped out at the roots, like they were nothing,” said Gavin. He is also unhappy with the non-existent disaster management team who have not answered their phones. “This area has been hammered, the worst I have seen. The fallen trees have disrupted the power lines and damaged property. The biggest problem is the amount of water which is causing retaining walls to collapse and all the sand and water which flooded roads such as Summerfield Road. In the meantime we have about 50 residents whose homes were flooded. They were put up at the Montclair recreational hall to sit out the storm,” he said.


A big concern for the councillor is Northridge Park where sand has been scoured from the foundation of the flats. Some of the buildings are literally standing on the edge of a precipice. “Disaster management has turned out to be an absolute disaster – none of the emergency numbers have been answered, they have abandoned the people of the city to fend for themselves, ” he added.

While the city’s response to the storm is yet to carefully measured, communities are taking matters into their own hands and working hard to restore their areas. This includes Mowat Park High where pupils and staff are hosting a clean-up at the school today, after it was afflicted by fallen trees and flooding.


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