Over 100 people have evacuated their homes after severe flooding in Ladysmith and Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province of South Africa. Local media report one person has died in the flooding.
Meanwhile authorities have warned people living along the Vaal River to prepare for evacuation after flood gates were opened in the Vaal and Bloemhof dams.
Flooding began in Ladysmith and Msinga after heavy rain from around 15 January 2022 caused the uThukela and Klip rivers to overflow. Dozens of homes, commercial buildings, roads and bridges have been damaged. The province’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said over 100 residents have evacuated their homes. Local media reported one fatality in Ezakheni.
Teams from the non-profit organisation Al-Imdaad Foundation have been carrying out rescue and relief operations in affected areas. In a statement on the situation, the foundation said, “Going forward assistance will be required by residents whose homes have been flooded as well as businesses in the CBD who have been totally flooded and out of business for 5-6 days.”
The province has been experiencing severe weather conditions since early December, including strong winds, lightning strikes, heavy rain and hailstorms. According to Cogta, the severe weather has left a trail of destruction, with 25 people dead and 2 still missing.
On 17 January the Department of Water and Sanitation started to release water from the Vaal Dam, where levels were at 108.5 %, and the Bloemhof Dam which was at 109 % capacity.
The department’s spokesperson Sputnik Ratau warned downstream communities about the imminent increase of outflow from the dams and a rise in the Vaal River.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported residents along the banks of the Vaal River in Bloemhof and Christiana in the North West started to evacuate their homes on 17 January in anticipation of possible flooding.
uThukelaDistrict Municipality Mayor Inkosi Ntandoyenkosi Shabalala says they will assess the storm damage to determine the costs. This follows flooding in Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal. One person has died and dozens evacuated. #DStv403 #eNCA pic.twitter.com/nCOTtWYluB
— eNCA (@eNCA) January 18, 2022