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Severe thunderstorms cause devastation in coastal areas; eThekwini Metro, iLembe, and uGu Districts with five confirmed fatalities

Date: 2024-01-19 09:44:56

Severe thunderstorms cause devastation in coastal areas; eThekwini Metro, iLembe, and uGu Districts with five confirmed fatalities

Media Statement 
14 January 2024
Severe thunderstorms, accompanied by strong winds, have left a trail of destruction in various areas of KwaZulu-Natal. The most significant damages have been reported in the eThekwini Metro, KwaDukuza and Ndwedwe Local Municipalities at this stage. Our Disaster Management Teams responded to a number of calls between 20:00 and 22:00 on Saturday night when the thunderstorm battered the coastal areas, causing severe damage to households, businesses and infrastructure.
At this stage, five fatalities have been confirmed under eThekwini Metro, while two people have been reported missing. Two people died in the Folweni area after a retaining wall collapsed on their structure. Another person was confirmed dead in Umlazi’s K Section due to structural collapse.  In another incident in Tongaat, two family members died when their shack collapsed on them during the heavy rains. Two more people went missing after floods washed away their informal structure in Tongaat. Search and Rescue Teams, led by SAPS K9 Unit, IPSS Medical Rescue, and Reaction Unit SA, are currently on the ground conducting search and rescue operations.
The heavy rains have also caused damage to water and electricity infrastructure, leaving some communities in eThekwini and Stanger without water and electricity. Our disaster response teams, working with all affected municipalities and our social partners, are still on the ground providing relief such as blankets, mattresses, and box-B, which contain all the amenities a human being needs on a daily basis.
Municipalities have also dispatched water tankers to areas affected as families are engaged in mop-up operations. With regards to infrastructure, In eThekwini Metro, some roads and bridges have been affected by the heavy rain, resulting in some roads being completely closed, limiting access to communities, social, and economic facilities. The mop-up operation is currently underway, including the removal of fallen trees, while several roads that were washed away will remain closed for safety.
Our preliminary reports indicate that eThekwini has so far recorded over 250 households with over 1000 people affected at this stage. As a precautionary measure, eThekwini Municipality has closed all beaches in the north, and some in the southern region are closed until further notice. Only Umgababa Beach remains open in the south region.
In KwaDukuza, under Ilembe District, about 70 households have been confirmed to have been affected due to flooding affecting 300 people. Some roads in various areas were severely damaged, and traffic law enforcement has decided to close them to ensure the safety of motorists.
In Ndwedwe, under Ilembe District, several calls were received by disaster teams from distressed families calling for help. So far, 70 homes have been affected, and our teams are currently providing relief, working with our social partners.
In the south coast under Ugu District several roads had to be closed and traffic was diverted after flash floods damaged major roads. There were several households that were being assessed in the area of Port Shepstone.  
KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, has expressed her heartfelt condolences to all the families that have lost their loved ones as a result of inclement weather. She also expresses her sympathy to all who have suffered losses, including damage to their valuables and businesses.
She has activated other sector departments to come on board to provide all forms of assistance our communities need during this difficult period.
“Our province has been hard hit by yet another devastating flood. We have received reports that schools, roads, and bridges in municipalities such as eThekwini, Ndwedwe, and KwaDukuza have been severely damaged. Teams are on the ground to assess the damage and provide emergency relief to those affected. Disaster management teams are compiling reports to ensure a consolidated government response. We also have law enforcement agencies on the ground, including Road Traffic Inspectorates who are diverting traffic in areas where transport infrastructure has been washed away.
We are also coordinating with other departments such as social development, Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Education, and Eskom to assist us in providing a comprehensive response in all aspects. Our teams will be in contact with all the affected families to provide the necessary support we normally provide to the victims,” said MEC Sithole-Moloi.
Our disaster teams will continue with assessment to quantify the extent of the damages and cost as a result of heavy rains. The information will be updated once verified by our teams on the ground.  As more rains are expected to come, our teams will remain on high alert and continue to provide the needed relief.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Siboniso Mngadi, Media Liaison Officer: 078 1063 911
Nonala Ndlovu, Head of Communications: 066 2826 903
Issued by the KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs