Death toll in KwaZulu-Natal floods rises to 32
The death toll from torrential rains that have ravaged KwaZulu-Natal since Monday night has risen to 32, authorities have confirmed.
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Senzo Mzila said on Tuesday 23 deaths were recorded in Durban and nine others outside the city, with the figure set to rise.
In Chatsworth‚ south of Durban‚ rescue workers recovered nine bodies on Tuesday after a mudslide destroyed the home of a caretaker at Westcliff Secondary School.
One person was injured and admitted to hospital.
Speaking at the scene, eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede warned communities to avoid building homes in areas prone to flooding.
“They must not build in areas they are not supposed to because the soil in these areas lies on flood banks and we are warning our communities of this because more floods are coming.”
Gumede said disaster management teams have been deployed to various sectors of the city to establish assembly points for displaced families.
“We have put up marquees‚ spoken to local priests and have opened up our community halls so our community can go and settle there to get hot meals and be safe until everything has been cleared. We want all our public members to be safe‚ if you feel that where you are is not safe [sic]‚ please phone your councillor because we are all working together to resolve this issue,” the mayor said.
She told TimesLIVE a provincial state of emergency would only be declared until the provincial government had completed its investigation into the extent of the damage.
Meanwhile Netcare 911 spokesperson Shawn Herbst said they had responded to reports of a structural collapse in KwaNdengezi near Mariannridge‚ west of Durban‚ on Tuesday.
He said a rescue unit was dispatched but rough terrain and damaged roads had limited made access to the scene.
“The Netcare 911 specialised rescue unit was sent in. When the technician arrived on scene, he found that an entire house had been destroyed by a mudslide‚ leaving only mud and rubble visible. Together with the eThekwini fire and rescue services and the NSRI [National Sea Rescue Institute] a search for survivors was initiated.
“Tragically during the search‚ a seven-month-old child and a nine-year-old child were found deceased.
“While paramedics were on scene they received multiple calls for assistance from residents in the area pleading for help as the ground beneath their houses had been washed away and the houses were about to collapse. When rescue personnel arrived on scene the houses had already collapsed.”
He said a total of eight houses had been destroyed by the mudslides, killing six people.