- Continued rains have caused flooding in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
- The South African Weather Service issued a weather warning for Tuesday in some parts of the province.
- The high water level of Hazelmere Dam threatens a project to raise the dam wall.
Continued heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal over the past 72 hours have caused chaos, resulting in widespread flood damage in the province.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued an orange level 8 warning for Tuesday in some parts of the province.
Weather forecaster Wayne Venter said continued rain has caused flooding in the eastern part of the province, with more rain expected in the southern part on Tuesday.
The South African Weather Service issued an orange level 8 warning for the coast and adjacent interior of KwaZulu-Natal for Tuesday.
“A general cleanup of conditions can be expected from Tuesday in most parts of the province with better weather on Wednesday,” Venter said.
According to SAWS, heavy rains on Tuesday could result in flooding of roads and communities, damage to roads and bridges, damage to property and infrastructure, and loss of pets. Some communities may be temporarily inaccessible, and major disruption to traffic flow is expected due to flooded roads, according to SAWS.
It is very important that people avoid any flooded roads or bridges. Twenty centimeters of water can knock a person out.
On Monday, the weather service said heavy rain had fallen over the past 24 hours. The province has been hit by continuous rain since Friday. According to SAWS, some parts of the province saw 100mm and 200mm of rain in the last 24 hours.
Heavy downpours resulted in flooding on Monday, causing the deaths of two people. Two more people are still missing.
Seek refuge in a higher place
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka had earlier confirmed that floods had claimed the lives of two people in KwaMashu, Durban, but the death toll across KwaZulu-Natal had risen to at least 20, according to the spokesman of Cogta Nonala Ndlovu.
Hlomuka also said two others were missing after their vehicle was swept away by floods in Molweni.
“Disaster management teams continue to respond to several incidents, which include a wall collapse in eThekwini that led to one death, mudslides reported in KwaDukuza, flooding of [a] Ladysmith town, and road damage on the South Coast, ”Hlomuka said.
He encouraged low -income residents to seek shelter in higher areas.
Continued heavy rains, which come at a time when the ground is already saturated from the weekend rains, increases the risk of flooding in informal communities, low-lying areas and bridges.
EMS spokesman Robert McKenzie said emergency crews had responded to several incidents where houses collapsed in the larger eThekwini area.
Evacuations are taking place in the informal community of Coniston.
Evacuations in the informal settlement of Coniston.
On Monday, Reaction Unit SA reported that hundreds of families living in the informal settlement of Coniston had to be evacuated after the Umdloti River exploded on its banks.
“We have received many calls from residents indicating that many women and children have been trapped in the homes. Our officers have removed and assisted in the evacuation of the occupants,” spokesman Prem Balram said.
Emergency discharge of water from the dam
Meanwhile, heavy rains also pushed the level of Hazelmere Dam, north of Durban, to about 65%, posing a significant risk to the extension of the wall under construction.
Umgeni Water, which manages the dam, decided to draw water from the dam on an emergency basis to reduce the dam level to 53%.
The first release will begin on Tuesday and will continue until it reaches 53%.
Dam manager Shami Harichunder said:
Communities living near or on the banks of the Umdloti River are reminded that when water is released, the river level rises rapidly. This could pose a risk to the safety of any person trying to cross the river. It can also pose a danger to structures built on the banks of the river.
At this stage, it is not known how long it will take to reach the required level of 53%.
“Due to soil saturation, the run-off at the dam remains strong as the heavy rains continue. In January 2022, the dam reached 63% and it took five days for it to drop to 53% in releases,” he said. said Harichunder.
Hundreds of families in the Coniston informal settlement in KZN had to be evacuated on Monday.
Residents were evacuated from their homes.
According to the water company, the dam wall raising project was commissioned by the Department of Water and Sanitation and, after a long delay caused by construction -related complications, the contractor has finally returned to the area.
When completed, the raised wall will double the dam’s storage capacity, reducing the risk of water shortages occurring again. Approximately 10% of the work remains unfinished and completion is scheduled for the end of the year.
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