City flood crisis

2020-01-20 14:53
Flattened vegetation and litter at Camps Drift show how high the water rose at the height of the flash flooding after Saturday evening’s storm.

Flattened vegetation and litter at Camps Drift show how high the water rose at the height of the flash flooding after Saturday evening’s storm. (Nash Narrandes)

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Dozens of people were displaced after their homes were flooded by the Msunduzi River on Saturday night following a deluge in a widespread storm.

Several wards in Edendale were hit the worst. Reports of flooding were also received from residents in the Sweetwaters area and Ashdown.

The river was still turbulent on Sunday as plastic, bottles and other litter bobbed up and down in the fast-flowing torrent. As the flood water retreated, it left a tide of litter in its wake.

Videos and images of the pollution did their rounds on social media on Sunday.

The low-level bridges on Grimthorpe Road in Lincoln Meade, Woodhouse Road and near Makro were no-go areas. Msunduzi traffic officials were seen patrolling the bridges to make sure pedestrians and motorists were not dicing with death in their attempts to cross the swollen rover.

Grimthorpe Road Bridge

The low-water bridge floods on Grimthorpe Road in Lincoln Meade.

Sunday’s Pope’s Walk — in the build-up to the Dusi Canoe Marathon next month — was cancelled because of the flooding. This was announced on the marathon’s Facebook page on Saturday evening.

No fatalities were reported as a result of the heavy rainfall.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka dispatched disaster management teams to assess and render assistance to those affected by the floods.

Cogta spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila said that two families whose homes were submerged in Peace Valley, near Ashdown, were rescued by the team.

The MEC urged residents living in areas that are along the flood plain of the river to co-operate with disaster management officials.

“We are very concerned about this incident and the serious risk it poses to human life. We are appealing to residents who are residing in areas that are on the flood plain to immediately seek shelter on higher ground. We have dispatched our teams to assist these families who are in danger as a result of the increase in water levels,” he said yesterday.

Inclement weather conditions are expected to continue in large parts of the province, he said, urging residents to exercise extreme caution.

Msunduzi Mayor Mzi Thebolla visited some of the affected wards in Edendale on Sunday. He said he saw one collapsed mud house. Blankets, food and shelter were being provided to the affected residents.

“Some of them are staying with their relatives. They lost everything,” he said.

Grimthorpe Road Bridge

This mud house collapsed in Edendale on Saturday night. 

It was difficult for him to say what the extent of the disaster was, as the affected areas were still being visited.

He also said that some houses were flooded with water from over-flowing drains, but the majority of flooding was from the river.

Dave Still, chairperson of the Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust, said a lot of trash came down the river and that cleaning up could take a month.

Weather forecaster Julius Mahlangu said the heavy downpour was as a result of a thunderstorm. Rainfall measured at the Msunduzi Airport was 17,6 mm, which is a moderate amount. However, some parts of Pietermaritzburg received more rainfall, with a reader in Athlone measuring 29 mm.

Light to moderate rainfall is expected on Monday with the maximum temperature expected to reach 19 degrees, added Mahlangu.

After the heat of last week, residents will be pleased that the weather will be cooler this week and will start warming up on Friday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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