Six die in KZN floods as COP17 begins
In the wake of the start of the COP17 conference on climate change, six more people have been killed in floods after sever rains in KwaZulu-Natal.
A violent storm killed six people in Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Sunday night and destroyed scores of homes.
The extreme weather, which struck hours before the opening of the UN climate change conference in Durban, caused flooding and widespread damage.
Sunday night's deaths brought the number of people killed by floods in KwaZulul-Natal to 11 in less than two weeks. Last week, five people died in the province due to heavy rains.
KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance department spokesperson Mthatheni Mabaso said seven people were killed in Umlazi and Clermont townships, south and west of the city, on Sunday night.
"We have been told they died when their houses collapsed. We have also been told that about 100 homes were flooded and damaged in Isipingo," he said on Monday.
According to paramedics another man, aged 44, was found under the rubble of his house in Quarry Heights, Durban, early on Monday morning. The house collapsed on Sunday night, Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said.
Homes were also flooded in Durban's affluent areas such as Umhlanga and Newlands.
"This shows that even the posh areas are not spared of the effects of climate change," said Mabaso.
Cooperative governance provincial minister Nomusa Dube would visit some of the affected areas on Monday.
"She will be accompanied by her disaster management team. They will assess the damage," he said.
Several people, including a one-year-old baby, were rescued from their Durban homes early on Monday after flash floods, Botha said.
Families in four homes on Randles Road were stuck in waist-deep water after a heavy downfall.
"At around 1am, Netcare 911 paramedics, their rescue team as well as the SAPS search and rescue were called to the four houses ... rescue personnel assisted an elderly lady and a baby less than one year to safety. Both were treated for the cold and the elderly patient had to be treated for an asthma attack."
In Pietermaritzburg several areas were damaged by heavy rains on Sunday night.
Paulpietersburg, Gingindlovu, Nkandla and Eshowe were the most affected during last week's floods. Three people died in Paulpietersburg, and two in the eThekwini municipality.
Up to 20 000 delegates from more than 190 countries are gathered in Durban to thrash out a plan to counter global warming and the catastrophic climate change, including extreme weather, it is causing in many parts of the world.—Sapa
- A previous version of this story said eight people have died in floods. This has been amended to the correct number, which is six.