'We have nothing left': KZN residents' harrowing tales after the flood from hell

Nokuthula Nyadeni's grandfather escaped his crumbling bedroom just in time. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Nokuthula Nyadeni's grandfather escaped his crumbling bedroom just in time. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Residents in KwaZulu-Natal are struggling to pick up what’s left of their lives after torrential rains washed away their homes, cars and roads.

Nokuthula Nyadeni says her family is lucky to be alive after their home collapsed on Monday evening.

Her family lives in Hammersdale, a township 50km outside of Durban, says community members stepped in to help them escape their crumbling house.
“It’s still difficult to sleep through the night after everything that’s happened," Nokuthula says.

“On Monday night, around 7pm, the rain just wouldn’t stop. I received a call from my sister that the retaining wall by the kitchen had fallen and almost broke our kitchen door," she adds.

Flooding, disaster, home, deaths, Durban, Kwa-Zulu
A family home collapsed on Monday evening after days of torrential rain led to mudslides. (PHOTO: Supplied)

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"A few hours later my sister called again saying our yard is falling apart and they're now trying to evacuate the premises. My family managed to escape and they slept in the garage. But even there, they feared for their lives because the yard was sinking into a hole,” she says.

“Luckily no one was injured. My grandfather fell into the rubble when his bedroom collapsed, but thank God, he got out in time.”

A Phoenix family escaped their flooded home with their nine-month-old baby and only the clothes on their back on Monday night.

“Everything happened within seconds,” the Phoenix woman tells YOU. My husband looked out of the window and saw that the water was rising outside our door. He walked to the kitchen where water had already seeped in. He opened the main door, and as he did, water gushed in throughout the house.

“By the time I realised what was happening, the water was ankle deep. All I could think of was grabbing my baby’s documents, her bag, and some of her clothes. My house was filling up with water, but there was nothing we could do; it was already too late.

“My maternal instincts kicked in and I held on tight to my baby and pushed through the gushing water which was already waist deep. There was no help except for our neighbours who managed to help stop more from flowing into the house,” she says from her father’s house where they're staying now.

“We've lost everything. We now have to start from scratch.”

Flooding, disaster, home, deaths, Durban, Kwa-Zulu
Roads and pathways around the home in Hammersdale has collapse making it impossible to travel. (PHOTO: Supplied)

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Residents have blamed government for the flooded roads and overflowing stormwater drains, and they have accused the eThekwini Municipality of failing to clean and service drains on time.

The Phoenix mum echoed other resident’s complaints and said she believes blocked drains may've led to their home being flooded.

“If the storm drains had been clear, water would have flowed freely and not damaged anyone's property."

It’s not just people who have suffered. At the Cinderella Animal Rescue in Durban, kennels, food and equipment were washed away.

Their yard was destroyed by a flash flood just after midnight on Tuesday morning, and they face the prospect of having to surrender their rescue animals. 

They haven’t yet assessed the damage to their organisation as their yard has been washed away and the roads leading to the building have been blocked by protesters. 

“Our dogs are wet and cold. We're no longer equipped to care for the number of animals in our care and the numbers keep going up,” the facility's director, Narisha Ramchunder, says.

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