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Child dies in KZN storms, more heavy rain forecast

31 December 2021 - 10:36 By TimesLIVE
KZN has been lashed by storms in recent weeks. File image.
KZN has been lashed by storms in recent weeks. File image.
Image: Amanda Khoza

A 10-year-old boy drowned after being swept away while attempting to cross a low-lying bridge in KwaZulu-Natal, and a second person is missing.

Storms have caused property damage overnight and more severe thunderstorms are forecast for the province, prompting KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka to urge residents to exercise caution.

Xolani Shange was one of two people in KwaMpumuza, in the Msunduzi local municipality, who was swept away on Thursday, with the second person surviving the incident and receiving medical attention.

One person is missing after being swept away during a flooding incident in the Maphumulo local municipality, said Hlomuka.

Thursday’s storm uprooted trees, flooded roads and damaged public and private property in several municipalities. Hlomuka has dispatched disaster management teams to assess the extent of the damage in Maphumulo, Msunduzi and uMngeni where it is believed the most severe storms took place.

The MEC warned residents to be vigilant as severe thunderstorms are forecast for Friday in the districts of uThukela, Harry Gwala, Amajuba, uMgungundlovu and Ugu.

The weather warning from the SA Weather Service indicates that some of the thunderstorms are expected to become severe and will be accompanied by heavy downpours, strong winds, hail and lightning.

“We urge residents to stay indoors and if caught in a thunderstorm, they must seek shelter in a building and stay as far away as possible from trees, telephone lines and power lines. Residents are warned to avoid travelling on bridges and roads in low-lying areas as these are susceptible to flooding,” said Hlomuka.

Disaster management teams will continue to monitor areas prone to weather-related incidents, said the MEC.

The thunderstorms will primarily affect the northeast of the province but will extend throughout the whole of KZN.