Tuesday, 12 April 2022 11:39

Cogta in KZN urges residents to be cautious amid heavy rains.

Staff Reporter.

The KwaZulu-Natal Disaster Management Centre has activated support from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as heavy rains continue to batter parts of the province.

In a statement on Tuesday, the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) said inclement weather conditions continued to cause havoc across the province.

The department urged residents residing in low-lying areas to seek shelter on higher ground, saying disaster management teams had opened public facilities for those that need shelter.

"[CoGTA] is working together with social partners and sister departments to ensure that there is interim relief for those that are housed in shelters. So far the extent of the heavy rains is across the province with eThekwini being one of the most affected areas," reads the statement.

Teams were still collating the extent of the damage so far.

"We wish to commend the brave disaster management teams, law enforcement and first aid responders for working all night to protect and preserve human life amid difficult circumstances.

"Disaster management teams have been evacuating people in areas that have experienced mudslides, flooding, and structural collapses of buildings and roads. The heavy rains have affected power lines in many municipalities with technical teams working around the clock to restore power."

Residents in areas that were on higher ground were urged to open up their homes for their neighbours who are stranded as a result of the flooding caused by the heavy rains.

Many roads are blocked and residents are requested to avoid unnecessary journeys.

The inclement weather conditions are expected to continue today and the South African Weather Service has warned of significant rainfall in eThekwini, KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Maphumulo, Ndwedwe, Ray Nkonyeni, Umdoni, Mkhambathini, Richmond, Msunduzi, uBuhlebezwe, uMlalazi, uMngeni, uMshwathi, Umuziwabantu, uMvoti, Umzimkhulu, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Umzumbe municipalities.

"This increases the risk of flooding getting worse in all these areas," said the department. 

Meanwhile the N3 highway that connects Johannesburg to the port of Durban has been closed to southbound traffic because of debris on the road caused by the floods, KwaZulu-Natal's Transport Department said on Twitter.

Bridges on the N2, the main highway along the nation's Indian Ocean coastline, have been washed away, Parboo Sewpersad, a spokesman for eThekwini Metropolitan police, said on Durban-based East Coast Radio.

South Africa is this year experiencing the La Nina weather phenomenon, which usually causes above normal rainfall in the country and its neighbors. In January, many parts of the nation experienced the heaviest rains since tracking by district began in 1921.