/ 15 April 2024

Flood warning: Heavy rains forecast for Durban and South Coast

Whatsapp Image 2024 04 15 At 13.58.03
Med~Evac joined the search for the vehicle that washed away off the low bridge near fiddlewood farm in Margate during the flood. It was located this morning approximately 5km away near the freeway with 3 occupants still inside the vehicle. Unfortunately the occupants did not survive. (Med-Evac)

At least three people have been killed and roads and buildings damaged in devastating floods that struck the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast on Sunday night.

The South African Weather Service issued a level five warning for further heavy downpours that are expected along the South Coast and in the eThekwini municipality on Monday, with projections of more than 200 millimetres of rainfall over a 24-hour period.

Disaster teams have been activated in all municipalities to prepare for the possibility of further localised flooding, the KwaZulu-Natal department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs said in a statement.

Ray Nkonyeni local municipality spokesperson Simon April said municipal officials were on site assessing the damages in Margate on Monday morning.

“So far three bodies have been recovered from a washed away vehicle,” April said.

“The process of assessing damages is still continuing, and so far, the hardest hit area is Margate CBD [central business district], Margate Beach Promenade and some residential dwellings.”

April said it was impossible to estimate the costs of the damages at this stage.

Ugu district municipality spokesperson France Zama said mayor Skhumbuzo Mqadi was leading multi-disciplinary teams to the parts of Margate affected by the floods.

“Huge damage has been caused to water and roads infrastructure around the areas of Margate and an onsite assessment of the damages is underway,” Zama said. “A coordinated clean-up operation is in progress while cost implications of the damages caused are still being consolidated.”

(Video by Med-Evac)

The cooperative governance department said: “According to the warning from the South African Weather Services, the heavy downpours may result into some areas receiving rainfall accumulation of more than 200mm over a 24-hour period, which may lead to localised flooding of settlements and roads, damage to houses, displacement of communities over the extreme south-eastern of the province on Monday.” it said.

Areas likely to be affected include eThekwini metro as well as the Umdoni, Umzumbe and Ray Nkonyeni local municipalities.

“The public is advised to take precautionary measures by moving to safer places and avoid travelling to mitigate risk. These thunderstorms may cause localised damage to settlements, vehicles, livelihood, livestock and power surges due to excessive lightning. The public is also warned of localised injuries and danger to life due to lightning,” the department said.

“Public facilities such as community halls are open as safe havens for those in need of shelter. Our teams may have to evacuate people should they foresee high risk of danger due to inclement weather. Motorists are strongly advised to avoid travelling during this period, as bridges may become flooded, posing a risk to life.”

The department said its provincial team was assessing the damages.