Disaster teams respond to damage caused by heavy rains in KZN

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Disaster Management teams are currently assisting people affected by heavy rainfall and strong winds that caused widespread destruction, particularly in Mtubatuba in the northern part of the province, at the weekend.

According to the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs’ (CoGTA) initial report, at least four people from Mtubatuba lost their lives due to a thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds over the weekend.

The storm ripped roofs off houses and caused damage to infrastructure, including power cables, roads, bridges, and vehicles.

“Up to now more than 70 houses in the Somkhele and KwaMyeki areas have been identified as destroyed. Some houses suffered complete damage, rendering families homeless.

“There are also reports of damaged vehicles and in certain areas Eskom poles and cables are scattered across roads and people's properties. Community halls and churches have opened their doors to the public, while others have sought alternative accommodation with relatives,” the department said in a statement.

In the Harry Gwala District, the Greater Kokstad Municipality has also experienced heavy rains and a hailstorm in the Pakkies Location. Approximately six households were affected, with no reported fatalities, injuries, or displaced individuals at the time of the report.

In the Umzimkhulu Municipality, heavy rains in the Madakeni location affected four households, with no fatalities reported, while in the Umgungundlovu District, about 23 households in the Rosetta informal settlement under the Mpofana Local Municipality were affected by the hailstorm on Saturday.

In Ulundi, under the Zululand District Municipality, a block of rental rooms was blown away by strong winds, with no reported injuries.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi has conveyed her sincere condolences to the families and friends affected by the incidents.

Sithole-Moloi said disaster management teams will continue on-site assessments and provide relief including mattresses, blankets, food, and plastic sheeting.

“We are collaborating with other government departments, such as social development and human settlements, to aid all victims. Our teams, in conjunction with municipalities, will persist in assessments to determine necessary government intervention.

“We extend condolences to those who lost loved ones during this period. While we acknowledge that certain incidents are unavoidable, such as the thunderstorm with strong winds that devastated houses in Mtubatuba, we encourage communities to take safety precautions, such as relocating to safer areas where possible,” Sithole-Moloi said.

As heavy rains persist across various parts of the province, the MEC said provincial disaster management teams remain on high alert.

She said ongoing assessments will lead to an updated report, once the preliminary findings are consolidated.

Meanwhile, the MEC will today visit the affected families in Mtubatuba to convey her condolences to the families, and also conduct an assessment of the extensive damages in the area, where several homes were destroyed. – SAnews.gov.za

Source: South African Government News Agency