South coast residents battle mud and debris

2008-06-25 00:00

While mopping up on the south coast continues, residents say that every day is a battle living in homes that are filled with mud and debris left by the recent floods.

The Witness visited Club Marina near Ifafa beach, one of the worst hit areas, yesterday and spoke to residents as they shovelled thick mud, tree branches and other debris from their once luxurious homes.

The home of pensioners Myrtle and Tony du Toit, who were killed in the flash flood that struck the area last week, was covered in mud.

Their belongings were scattered around the tiny house in Crayfish Lane at the bottom of the complex.

Yesterday, municipal workers were busy removing mud from the homes, while big trucks transported soiled mattresses, broken televisions and damaged furniture away.

Armed with spades, residents helped workers remove the mud that filled their houses.

A heavy stench hung in the air, as the sewage system overflowed during the floods.

Road cleaners also cleared tree branches and other debris from the N2 freeway near Umzinto.

Club Marina resident Neil de Lange’s brand-new car was submerged in flood water that filled his garage to the roof.

“Everything was destroyed that night. My furniture and appliances are in pieces. I’m waiting for the car to dry out so I can see if the engine is okay,” he said.

De Lange said the mopping up process is a “nightmare”.

“It is difficult trying to clean up the house. The warm weather is great, but it has caused the mud to stink,” he said as he emptied a wheelbarrow of mud outside.

The floods hit just after Francelina dos Santos had moved into her own home and was preparing to start a new life.

She moved into the Club Marina complex in May and had bought brand-new furniture and appliances. Everything was damaged in the flood.

“I was so excited about living on my own. The complex was a beautiful and serene place and I knew that life would be good here. I didn’t think I would lose everything I owned here,” she said.

Dos Santos said she was alone when the rain started and heard neighbours screaming for help.

“The water in my bedroom rose to the ceiling, it also pushed the door down. Luckily, I managed to escape through a tiny window,” she recalled.

She said she still has nightmares and has asked her mother to live with her while she salvages her house and what’s left of her possessions.

“We are trying to stay positive, but it’s difficult sometimes. How can you be happy when you lost some items that you never got the chance to use?” she said.

Anne Rhynes said that while mopping up and salvaging her personal belongings has taken up most of her time, she also has to keep a watchful eye on her house because there has been a lot of looting in the complex.

“People are just taking things that are not theirs. It’s so sad. I can’t hose down my house as both my hosepipes have been stolen,” she said.

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