South Africa – Hundreds Evacuated, 1 Feared Dead After Floods in KwaZulu-Natal

Several days of heavy rain has led to flooding in parts of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province in South Africa. Over 100 mm of rain fell in Durban in 24 hours, 14 to 15 May, 2017.

Dozens of flood rescues have been carried out and hundreds of people have evacuated their homes. One person is feared dead after his car was swept away in a flooded river in Umzinyathi District.

Flood Rescues

KZN Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (COGTA), which is responsible for disaster prevention and management, said that teams are intervening across the province, following the extreme weather induced by the cold front.

At least 22 people were rescued after they became trapped inside bus in flood water near Nseleni, outside Richards Bay. Swift responses by the disaster teams from King Cetshwayo municipality and uMhlathuze ensured that all passengers were rescued to safety.

Emergency and disaster teams had to respond to a number of traffic incidents, mostly as a result of people driving in flooded areas. In a statement yesterday, 15 May, COGTA said that “We are still frustrated by some people and drivers who attempt to drive across flooded roads despite all the warnings we are issuing.”

The N2 freeway at Zinkwazi‚ north of Durban‚ was partially closed early on 16 May after flooding.

Evacuations

The preventative evacuation of at least 200 people in Mzingwenya near Richards Bay was also carried out successfully and the communities are being assisted with all emergency needs until the situation is safe for them to return to their homes.

Around 10 houses are thought to have been completely destroyed in the floods and heavy rain in uMzumbe municipality (2 houses), in uMdoni (6 houses), in uMuziwabantu (2 houses), all in uGu District.

Fatalities

COGTA said that, as of 15 May, there were no reported fatalities as a result of the bad weather in the province.

Local media however are reporting that a teacher is presumed dead after his car was washed away by a flooded river in Nquthu, in Umzinyathi District of KwaZulu-Natal. It’s believed the 40 year-old teacher was trying to cross a bridge when his vehicle was swept away.

Rainfall

Rainfall figures from WMO for a 24 hour period, 14 to 15 May 2017.

  • Charters Creek – 125 mm
  • Mandini – 133 mm
  • Durban International Airport – 101 mm
  • Mount Edgecombe – 75 mm
  • Port Edward – 65 mm
  • Margate – 60 mm

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Featured photo: Mtuze floods, South Africa. Credit: KZN EMS