Coast KZN

13 Jan 2022

Storms wreak havoc across iLembe district

Sboniso Dlamini (North Coast Courier) Picture: Water rushes over a low-lying bridge in a river in Maphumulo.

Recent storms have claimed the lives of several people, including children, and caused damage to about 300 homes in the iLembe district. In Umgungundlovu, 400 damaged households were reported. Parts of the R74 road that connects KwaDukuza and Greytown also collapsed.

A 3-year-old child drowned in Maphumulo, while a 30-year-old man was swept away when he attempted to cross the Umvoti River. According to the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta), iLembe and uMgungundlovu were the most affected districts. MEC Sipho Hlomuka said since the start of the festive season his department had activated all disaster management centres to monitor and coordinate emergency responses.

“The department has provided social relief aid to all municipalities for distribution to affected households, while also facilitating interventions by other sector departments in line with their legislative mandates,” said Hlomuka.

He urged the public to take climate change seriously.

“We have to acknowledge that climate change is real, frequent and violent. We need to pay attention to all the severe weather warnings issued by the South African Weather Service and apply sensible measures to avoid becoming casualties. “This, for example, entails staying indoors during heavy thunderstorms and not crossing low-lying bridges over flooded rivers,” said Hlomuka.

The Courier last week published a story about the Umtshatha Ngubo Organisation’s community centre severely damaged during one of the storms. The main building, outside building and garage’s roofs were ripped off, bringing to a halt the centre’s invaluable feeding project for the underprivileged.

The centre manager’s urgent plea for support to enable repairs met with early response, an anonymous donation of R25 000.

“The donation enabled us to buy equipment to fix the kitchen, the heartbeat of our initiative to feed our elders. We wish to thank the person for the generous contribution,” said centre manager Sibusiso Delwa.

“This has encouraged us in our endeavours to source more funding to renovate the whole centre.”