Emergency teams on high alert in KwaZulu-Natal after freak storm

The eThekwini municipality has set up an emergency joint operations team to coordinate the response to the heavy winds and rains that wreaked havoc in some parts of Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu areas, as well as in Folweni on Monday afternoon.

The municipality has noted that emergency and rescue teams have already been dispatched to affected areas to assess the extent of the damage and offer assistance.

“The joint operations team will coordinate assistance, such as machinery, to move debris. A search and rescue team is also being deployed to affected areas,” the municipality said.

“Disaster and emergency teams will be in the area until all affected residents are safely accommodated.”

Robert McKenzie, spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal emergency medical services, said two people suffered minor injuries during the freak storm. 

Meanwhile, the provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) has warned communities, particularly those residing in the south coast, of heavy rains.

The warning followed a weather update from the South African Weather Service showing heavy rains that could lead to potential flooding.

The weather service on Tuesday placed the Ugu district municipality (encompassing Ray Nkonyeni, Umuziwabantu, Umdoni and Umzumbe local municipalities) on orange level six alert, the second-highest warning level.

Cogta has warned that Margate and Port Edward have already reported rainfall measurements of 89mm and 49mm, respectively since Monday.

However, weather models indicate that additional rainfall is expected over the Ugu district municipality, gradually subsiding on Wednesday.

“It is crucial to acknowledge the potential risks associated with these heavy rains. Flooding of roads, bridges, and settlements, both formal and informal, is highly likely. The fast-flowing streams and deep waters pose a significant threat to life,” said Cogta.

The department also warned that flooding may cause major disruptions to traffic flow, impacting essential services such as water, electricity, and communication.

Additionally, there is a risk of damage to mud-based houses in the affected areas.

“We strongly advise residents to closely monitor water levels and relocate to higher ground to avoid any potential disasters. Should residents experience any difficulties, they are urged to contact their local leadership.

“Furthermore, we urge motorists to exercise extreme caution when driving during this period, ensuring the safety of all road users.

“Where possible, we urge residents to postpone non-essential travel until the inclement weather subsides.”


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