R50m required to fix damage caused by deadly Durban storm

19 March 2019 - 18:11 By Lwandile Bhengu
Children cross a flooded road in KwaMashu after the devastating storm last week.
Children cross a flooded road in KwaMashu after the devastating storm last week.
Image: Jackie Clausen

The recent storm that ravaged the greater part of Durban left a trail of destruction that municipal officials estimate will cost R50m to repair.

This is according to a preliminary report compiled by the eThekwini municipality on the heavy rainfall that hit parts of the city on March 10 and 11.

Areas north of city - particularly KwaMashu, Inanda, Ntuzuma, Phoenix and Verulam - were hit hardest by the storm. Damage was also reported in Clermont, KwaDabeka, Quarry Heights and Palmiet.

“This amount includes engineering-related costs, as well as damage that occurred to properties, such as collapsed retaining walls," said the municipality in a statement on Tuesday. 

“Many houses were flooded, mainly due to ageing infrastructure and the inability of the stormwater drainage systems to contain heavy water volumes, thus causing damage to properties, especially in many areas of KwaMashu,” said municipality spokesperson Mandla Nsele.

A total of 104 separate incidents were reported to the disaster management call centre. These included two children who were trapped inside a flooded house in Ntuzuma C-section. Seven people were reported dead after the storm. 

There were also a large number of complications relating to road and stormwater maintenance. Nsele said they received 788 complaints in this regard - including 122 of damaged roads, 342 of blocked inlets, 28 of blocked pipes and 22 of sinkholes. 

Mondli Cele in his KwaMashu home that was flooded during the recent storm.
Mondli Cele in his KwaMashu home that was flooded during the recent storm.
Image: Jackie Clausen

A team from the provincial department of human settlements will try to help displaced families rebuild their homes and bury their loved ones.

“They will be looking into providing medium- to long-term solutions for the displaced families, as well as providing a detailed list of the affected houses that need to be rebuilt and apply for required funding through Treasury,” said Nsele.

Councillor Mondli Mthembu, chairperson of the human settlements and infrastructure committee, said that they would look into responding more effectively to disasters in future.

“The issue of partnerships with non-governmental organisations and others working in the relief sector must be established in order to respond more efficiently to disasters,” said Mthembu.

"There needs to be a platform to discuss disaster relief interventions before they occur and not only after the incident has occurred."


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