By Duncan Alfreds
At least 21 people have died as a result of heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal, as a storm system batters South Africa.
According to the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), the stormy weather caused significant damage.
“Last night, the weather conditions worsened significantly across KZN and the heavy rain culminated in various parts of the province, claiming at least 21 lives and 32 patients in and around Durban. Over 2 000 emergency calls were logged last night,” MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said in a statement.
News24 earlier reported that five people had been killed in mudslides in the province.
‘It’s been crazy’
Paramedics were busy responding to reports of injuries related to the flooding.
“It’s been crazy,” Garrith Jamieson, operations director for Rescue Care told News24 on Tuesday.
“I’m at a rescue now, still trying to find bodies,” he said from Chatsworth, where nine people went missing.
“We attended to several incidents related to flooding and damage this morning,” ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring told News24.
“We were in Amanzimtoti, where a man was in a home when it partially collapsed, and he sustained injuries,” he added.
The South African Weather Service issued warning for severe rain and strong winds along the east coast of the country.
“Heavy rainfall, which might lead to localised flooding, is expected over the Ugu DM, Ethekwini DM, Mkhambathini LM, uBuhlebezwe LM today,” read one of the warnings.
The weather is known as a cut-off low and will move south east, SAWS forecaster Mbavhi Maliage told News24.
“The main low is over the Northern Cape and it’s going to move over the Eastern Cape and out of the country.”
The weather should settle by Thursday.
“As it [the storm system] exits the country, it’s going to drag the weather with it,” said Maliage.
High rainfall areas over the last 24 hours
Port St Johns
The provincial department said it was responding to the storm devastation.
“We have, since the early hours of today, been responding to last night’s incessant rain that has wreaked untold damage on our communities, and to devise a way forward in our joint efforts as local and provincial government to begin with relief and response operations.
“Our purpose here today is also to assure the communities that our government is on top of its game in our endeavour to minimise the impact of this storm on our residents and businesses,” said Dube-Ncube.
The South African National Defence Force has committed to assisting those affected by flooding.
“Following heavy rains and flooding that has affected a large number of residents in and around Port St Johns, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Ms NN Mapisa-Nqakula has instructed the South African National Defence (SANDF) to intervene to help rescue and evacuate those affected by this natural disaster,” the SANDF said in a statement.