Second deluge hits Ladysmith

2011-01-15 00:00

LADYSMITH has been flooded for the second time in two weeks, with rising waters washing away a key footbridge and inundating houses that had only just been cleaned up after the last disaster.

Control officer in the public safety’s disaster management Bennie Strydom said 94 millimetres fell on Thursday night and into the early hours of yesterday.

About 65 houses were damaged with some partially demolished in St Chads’, Steadville and Ezakheni’s B- Section. A footbridge connecting Ezakheni’s C and E-Sections was completely destroyed by the heavy rains. Another bridge in St Chad’s was also washed away by the rain.

Uthukela District Municipality’s disaster management officer Zwangaye Sithole said they received phone calls from panicking residents in the affected areas. He said their houses were destroyed by the heavy rains but no casualties were reported.

“We went to the areas at about 2 am and although the Klip River, which runs below the areas, was full, it caused no harm to the residents. It is the rain itself that damaged about 65 houses in three areas. Some were worse than others and we are still counting and assessing the affected families,” said Sithole.

He said the assessment would be completed by yesterday afternoon and relief support will be given thereafter.

One of the affected residents Bhekinkosi Sthole of St Chads’ said the back and side walls of his family five-bedroom house were destroyed.

“Luckily we were awake when it happened so no one was injured. We are situated close to the Mabhomane and Ndakana Rivers and both had burst their banks. We are still awaiting help from the municipalities,” he said. The two rivers are the tributa­ries of the Klip River, which runs into the Tugela River, the main source of water for Ladysmith residents.

Durban weather forecaster Lucky Makhwedza said rains are expected on the north coast. Yesterday, Richards Bay, Estcourt, Underberg and Van Reenen recorded 48, 14, 10, 40 and 72 millimetres of rain respectively. He said some areas, including Pietermaritzburg, will receive showers until this evening.

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