Coast KZN

14 Apr 2022

10 Umdloti apartments lost in landslides

James Anderson ( North Coast Courier) Picture: Umdloti has been devastated by heavy rains and landslides.

Umdloti is pockmarked with landslides and canyons filled with the debris of once beautiful homes, almost resembling a war zone where bombs ripped through the town.

With buildings constructed on steep hills, Umdloti has been among the hardest hit communities on the North Coast during this week’s flooding.

At least 10 homes or apartments have been lost in landslides, with many more losing foundations and now unstable.


“We had floods in 2016, so we knew our house was in a drainage path, but it was never like this. Once the road started filling with mud and our sandbags became ineffective, we knew something bad was coming,” said a Bellamont Road resident who asked not to be named. Fearing the worst they contacted authorities, who by that stage were already overwhelmed.

Multiple sinkholes developed on Umdloti’s entry road, as power lines also fell into the road.

“We called the fire station, cops, anyone we could think of and their only response was asking if our lives were in danger.”

The family decided to remove as many possessions as possible and evacuate, but both family cars and all the furniture remain in a muddy mausoleum. Debris pours down from Surfside, where 2 apartments were ripped from the main block on Monday night. Throughout Monday, the floods intensified, washing away more and more of their lawn which flowed into the Isikhulu apartment complex below.

An Isikhulu trustee and homeowner said he was furious.

“How could this not have been foreseen? The continuous development and greed have left common sense behind and now we are facing the consequences. We buy here for safety – safety from crime, safety of investment and safety of mind, and now this is what we are left with,” the man said.

On Monday the order was given to evacuate Isikhulu after the basement level that housed cars completely filled with mud. Everyone complied except one elderly lady who had recently had a leg operation. She was later removed by paramedics who stretchered her out of harm’s way.

“Six of Isikhulu’s apartments were washed away by this morning after rains continued overnight,” said the trustee.

A canyon that developed on Bellamont Road belied another issue further south, where water was being diverted towards the Surfside complex. Overnight on Monday, two apartments were ripped from the main tower block, crashing down past the Cozumel complex below, blocking North Coast road.

The sinkhole at Umdloti’s main circle on Monday, which has since increased in size.

At least one other cottage on Bellamont also tumbled down the hill into the buildings below.

Further south, a river of mud and sludge trailed down Umdloti’s entry road, careening into the town’s main circle and causing a massive sinkhole. This is likely to have caused the ongoing water outage in Umdloti, as residents are surrounded by water but unable to get any from their taps.

At the time of going to print on Tuesday, rain had not ceased completely and residents were concerned that more landslides may occur overnight, leaving the normally sleepy town on high alert.