Blocked roads: Bulwer, Underberg businesses suffer

2012-08-09 00:00

BUSINESSES in Bulwer and Underberg suffered yesterday as snow blocked access to most shops and garages in the towns.

Underberg suffered a further blow when the power went off.

Patrick Rennie, a barman at the Underberg Inn, said they were using candles to light the way for their guests.

“It’s difficult for staff to get here as they stay far from their workplace.

“The restaurant and hotel had to close,” he said.

A garage owner in Bulwer, Piet Grobler, said his pumps were running dry as he was not receiving fuel deliveries.

“We don’t have much diesel because the tankers that should be delivering haven’t arrived. We hope they will come tomorrow as the snow will start melting.”

Grobler said he was surprised to see his staff at work yesterday.

“It has snowed previously, but not as heavily as this. Most of the time it would snow in the mountains and a little in town.

“This time businesses are suffering as some are permanently closed until the snow has melted. I don’t have as many customers as I used to because the road is closed in Boston and Underberg,” he said.

Nkosinathi Ngcobo, of Echibi in Bulwer, who works at the garage, told The Witness he had to walk more than 10 km to get to work. The father of four said he was the sole provider for his children and parents.

“I am walking this long distance because I do not want to lose my job.

“There was no transport for me to get here, but I walked in the slippery road which was full of mud,” said Ngcobo.

There was no public transport in the region as snow blocked access to the R612 between Ixopo and Donnybrook, and to the R617 between Underberg and Bulwer.

Mxolisi Shoba, from Nkelabantwana area, also walked to work Bulwer as no taxis or buses were running.

Education Department officials said school attendance had suffered in the

Sisonke and Mzinyathi Districts.

In the Port Shepstone area, a family took shelter at a nearby crèche when their home was washed away as driving rain pounded the South Coast this week.

They and others from five homes that were flooded would receive help from Ugu disaster management officials, said spokesperson Sipho Khuzwayo.

No injuries were reported.

The weather also proved hazardous to motorists, who had to be extra careful on the roads as bridges over the Umbango River on Deepvale Road and over the Umzimkhulu River flooded.

Fallen trees on Robin Road in Shelly Beach also proved an obstacle.

“The Hibiscus Coast fire department has been deployed to this area to remove the traffic-obstructing trees,” Khuzwayo said.

He added that the municipality would assess affected households and the vulnerable ones would be given temporary relief in the form of tents, blankets, mattresses and food.

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