Swift action by the army and emergency teams saved hundreds of people who had to be evacuated after their homes and care centres were flooded on Saturday night.
Members of the SANDF were roped in to help the emergency response teams as heavy rains wreaked havoc across Kwa-Zulu-Natal. Briefing the media on Sunday afternoon, KZN Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka said there had been no missing person or death reported following the weekend’s floods.
He, however, said there were about 250 people evacuated from Tongaat and Teguise care centres. He said 40 people from Waterways’ St Catherine Retirement Village in Tongaat and people from Westbrook Retirement Village were also evacuated. “Currently 82 care centres with 3 186 people counted around the city can be used to accommodate people [affected by floods],” he said.
According to Hlomuka, Ilembe District was most affected by the weekend’s flood, which left dozens homeless and damaged the road infrastructure.
He said several roads and bridges in eThekwini, especially in uMdloti and La Mercy, were also damaged.
In King Cetshwayo, in northern KZN, an Ngobese home collapsed due to heavy rains and wind. “A family of nine members living in a one-room house has been moved following damage to their house,” the MEC said.
In April, torrential rains triggered flood waters that killed over 440 people — 386 of whom were from eThekwini alone — and left thousands destitute.
Last week Hlomuka said damages to both the private and public sector during April’s floods amounted to R25 billion. For the recent floods, Hlomuka on Sunday said the provincial government was yet to receive a full comprehensive report on the impact of the rains.
He said the South African Weather Services (Saws) predicted that the storm would be moving up the KZN North Coast, thus affecting the districts of King Cetshwayo and uMkhanyakude in the coming days.
“We understand that some areas are inaccessible and have become islands at this stage. Water levels are being closely monitored in various areas that are prone to flooding so that appropriate measures can be effected.
“As the number of calls at the control centre has increased, the department has appealed to the SANDF to be deployed to the northern parts of Durban for urgent response. The metro police and fire department are assisting with water pumping and road closure where the roads are affected,” said Hlomuka.
On the relief interventions, the MEC said these were ongoing to ensure that all community halls with displaced people were receiving adequate relief assistance, social support services and medical assistance.
He said in the event flood-prone areas needed to evacuate people due to rising water levels, the open halls would be able to accommodate them. So far, he said, social partners such as the Red Cross, Al-Imdaad Foundation and many others had been activated to support municipalities with humanitarian aid and hot meals.
Hlomuka added that Cogta instructed every municipality to identify and allocate community halls to be used as homeless shelters