Cogta to assist in picking up pieces after KZN flooding - MEC

2016-07-26 16:14

Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal department for co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) will direct resources to low-lying area and informal settlements to assist the flood stricken province, it said on Tuesday.

"Our focus remains on the low-lying areas of the province and on informal settlements where there is risk of landslides and damage to makeshift structures. Residents are asked to monitor the impact of extreme weather in their areas and report all imminent disasters to the authorities," MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said in a statement.

According to Dube-Ncube, disaster personnel from across the province’s 61 municipalities have been dispatched to assist as many residents as possible.

"We would like to reassure the public that our disaster management teams are on high alert and we are already responding to every reported emergency situation. We are working closely with other agencies, including the SAPS, Traffic department, municipalities to ensure speedy interventions," she said.

She added that disaster and emergency teams had to work through the night to evacuate residents whose homes were flooded.

According to Cogta, one person was confirmed dead. The department sens condolences on behalf of government and Premier Willis Mchunu. Cogta did not provide further information on the death.

Hardest hit and lightning strikes

The department said that in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal, lightning compounded damage caused by incessant rain.

"We are aware that some areas are still without power since the local power station was struck lightning, especially in Isipingo. At the same time, heavy snowfall has caused major disruptions in and around the Drakensberg."

According to the department, Durban was the hardest hit by the torrential rains, with homes and car submerged in water in Amanzimtoti, Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, uMlazi, Yellowwod Park, and the entire central business district.

The south coast of KwaZulu-Natal was also hard hit after emergency accommodation had to be provided for residents of Bhoboyi and Umdoni in Port Shepstone, the department said.

Roads closed

Cogta advised motorists to heed all travel warnings issued by the authorities after several roads were closed to traffic, including the R56 between Kokstad and Matatiele, the R74 between Bergville and Harrismith, and the R617 between Underberg and Boston. The N3, however, remained open.

Dube-Ncube said the department was frustrated after reports that dozens of motorists attempted to drive across flooded roads, despite all the warnings.

"Everytime someone drives into floodwater, they’re also putting their lives, including those of rescuers, in danger."

Heavy rains hit the city on Sunday and Monday, resulting in heavy flooding throughout eThekwini.

Three people are missing, and presumed dead, in mudslides as a result of torrential rains in Durban on Monday. 

Searches for two other missing women, from Chatsworth and Glen Anil respectively, were continuing on Tuesday.

It is understood that Police Search and Rescue officers and other emergency service personnel attended a slew of incidents overnight, with landslides and severe flooding commonplace in the city's informal settlements.

Read more on:    durban  |  weather

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