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From weather warnings to infrastructure damage — a brief timeline of the latest floods in KZN

23 May 2022 - 14:48
One of the properties in uMdloti damaged by floods after heavy rainfall between Friday evening and Sunday morning.
One of the properties in uMdloti damaged by floods after heavy rainfall between Friday evening and Sunday morning.
Image: Ant Tulleken

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala is leading the provincial government’s disaster relief efforts and assessing the extent of the damage caused by floods in parts of the province. 

Among areas he visited are the Bluff, uMdloti and Westbrook, where properties and infrastructure were damaged and residents had to be evacuated at the weekend.

Residents in parts of the province had been on high alert since eThekwini municipality issued a flood warning last week. It said residents, especially in low lying areas needed to be cautious as they were at high risk.

Here’s a timeline of events so far:

Weather warning — Thursday 

eThekwini municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said mayor Mxolisi Kaunda had instructed disaster management personnel to be on standby.

He said residents living in low lying areas were advised to evacuate to safer zones as mudslides were expected. 

The SA Weather Service said significant damage could occur from flooding.

Heavy rains — Saturday 

As heavy rains hit the province on Saturday, co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka cautioned residents not to cross submerged bridges.

The Durban beachfront, uMngeni and Bluff were some of the areas that reported damage as a result of torrential rains. Hlomuka said government had made community halls available for residents who need shelter. 

Residents evacuated amid danger — Saturday 

Zikalala said some residents had to be evacuated from their homes on Saturday night due to localised flooding. 

Warnings were issued for residents in the southern and northern parts of Durban,  including Umdloti, Tongaat, Umlazi, Wentworth and Amanzimtoti.

Zikalala’s family among those evacuated — Sunday

The premier’s family was evacuated from their La Mercy home after all surrounding roads were washed away. 

“I drove myself out with my three boys Ntobeko, Awande and Sandiswa.

“But all this could not have been achieved without the support and prayers of the one and only Nelly Zikalala,” he said.

Properties, roads and bridges swept away — Sunday 

TimesLIVE reported that multimillion rand properties in Umdloti were destroyed after 36 hours of heavy rains.

KwaZulu-Natal emergency medical services spokesperson Robert Mckenzie said the area was severely affected. He said they had not received reports of deaths, injuries or missing people. 

“uMdloti and its surrounding areas are severely affected. Across the whole district there has been localised flooding but it’s nothing catastrophic. However, uMdloti is badly affected,” he said. 

Clean-up begins — Monday

Zikalala is on the ground assessing the extent of the damage before rebuilding can begin. He said work will soon start to rebuild parts of the M4 that were severely damaged. 

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