Flood-ravaged KZN to start picking up the pieces

Nivashni Nair Senior reporter
A portion of the M4 between Desainagar and Westbrook collapsed during the heavy rain.
A portion of the M4 between Desainagar and Westbrook collapsed during the heavy rain.
Image: supplied

Mop up operations are expected to begin in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday after heavy rain lashed the province over the weekend.

Still reeling from the deadly floods in April, many residents have lost their homes and do not have access to water and electricity.

eThekwini municipality said teams had to evacuate some residents on Saturday night as rain continued to batter the city.

“Rain gauge and river level analysis were undertaken continuously to identify vulnerable and high-risk areas. The most rainfall was experienced over north and central areas of eThekwini, with Bluff and uMdloti receiving high levels,” said municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela.

A family was evacuated to the Kwa-Nozaza temporary mass care centre after their house collapsed, and  about 190 people were relocated from Tehuis to SJ Smith Hall.

Elderly residents in two retirement homes in Tongaat and Westbrook were relocated to safety after their homes were affected.

“Many have since returned to their homes,” said Mayisela.

There were 82 care centres accommodating displaced people across the city.

“Relief interventions are ongoing to ensure all community halls with displaced people are receiving adequate relief assistance, social support services and medical assistance. Our health teams continue to provide health services to care centres, including the newly established centre at SJ Smith.

“Food, non-perishable items, clothing, blankets and matresses are available to assist those in need,” said Mayisela.

He said roads were damaged and some were affected by mudslides.

“Teams were dispatched to remove rubble, trees and mudslides. The amount of rain was extensive and drainage systems were severely affected. Some roads have reopened for traffic.”

There had been several power outages throughout the city caused by the heavy rains, but many had been attended to.

“Electricity infrastructure is vulnerable since the April floods and any amount of rain can cause further damage. Electricity teams are prioritising fault repairs across the city, specially faults that affect large areas,” said Mayisela.

The water treatment works in uMdloti was flooded.

“Areas such as Mosely Park, Gillits and KwaNdengezi are also affected by water outages. We are assessing whether the heavy rains had an impact on the work we had started in Tongaat,” said Mayisela.

eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda conducted a tour of uMdloti, north of Durban, to assess the extent of the damage.

Homes, roads and other infrastructure had borne the brunt of the weekend’s heavy rains.

“We had to prioritise visiting uMdloti given the severity of the damage in this area. Our water treatment plant has been damaged and this will affect our ability to provide water to residents in this area. I call on residents to be patient as we work speedily to restore key services,” said Kaunda.