Lucky to be alive

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The survivors of the torrential rains that have battered the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast will live to tell the tale of how they escaped death when freak floods ravaged their homes.

Six people have been confirmed dead and seven others are missing in areas such as Boboyi, Hibberdene and Umzinto.

Mziswa Mwezeni, 66, thanked his ancestors after he spent more than 12 hours, trapped by floods when his home in the Golokodo area in Malangeni collapsed on him.

Mwezeni said he first heard a strange sound and went out to check at about 9am.

"When I went back to the house the wall fell on me," Mwezeni said. "I screamed for help while I was being washed away into a nearby stream."

Mwezeni said he did not know how he survived.

"All I remember is that I was in and out of the water for a long time," he said. "But at last I was able to grab hold of a tree trunk and climb to safety. I had no energy. My whole body was sore.

"I screamed for help when I saw a house. I was taken in and they gave me warm clothes and coffee. When I asked what time it was they told me it was seven at night."

Others were not as lucky to as Mwezeni to survive. Rescue teams were still searching for more than seven people who had been reported missing.

Meanwhile the rescue team spent more than 48 hours to retrieve the body of an old man who got stuck in the mud when the wall of his flat collapsed on him.

The freak storm destroyed a number of places on the South Coast on Tuesday night.

At the moment the displaced communities are squeezed into community halls, where they are being provided with food and blankets.

Many luxury homes and businesses were flooded when rivers burst their banks and caused bridges to collapse.

Mopping up operations began in earnest as a provincial team visited some of the victims.

Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said they had dispatched mobile clinics to help those in need ofl medical treatment.