As extreme floods threaten KwaZulu-Natal yet again, communities in low-lying areas have been exhorted to evacuate their homes and seek shelter on higher grounds.
The call came from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).
This as heavy rains continue to cause major flooding on roads forcing disaster management teams to work around the clock to direct traffic via alternative routes. The department said it has received reports of mudslides which are being followed up by its disaster teams.
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KwaZulu-Natal Cogta said community halls have been opened for those that need shelter.
“We appeal to our communities in the areas that will be affected to remain calm and to follow all necessary precautions. Residents who reside in structures that could be compromised by the heavy rains are urged to evacuate.”
The department said so far no fatalities had been reported, and that it will issue further updates.
The department confirmed that a level 10 weather warning for disruptive rainfall issued by SA Weather Services, will affect the following areas:
- Big Five Hlabisa
- and uPhongolo.
Residents have been advised to take the following safety precautions:
- Residents in the affected areas are urged to stay indoors and off the roads, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above the ankles.
- If trapped in a vehicle during a flood, abandon it and climb to higher ground.
- In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level.
- In rural areas protect/relocate animals to a safe place on higher ground.
- Take care when travelling or avoid travelling as roads may be flooded, with potholes being filled with water.
The warning come less than two months after floods battered KwaZulu-Natal, causing hundreds of millions of rands worth of damage, and displacing more than 40 000 people.
Disaster and emergency service officers are on high alert in Durban after the South African Weather Service issued a Level 10 weather warning due to heavy rains.
It is the highest weather warning possible.
READ | KZN floods: 448 confirmed dead, 88 still missing a month after the disaster struck – Zikalala
The SA Weather Services has raised concerns over the vulnerability of some areas in Durban which were recently ravaged by floods, as more disruptive rain continues to fall in the metro.
The weather authority has warned that widespread showers and thundershowers are expected across KwaZulu-Natal because of a cut-off low associated with a surface high.
It said some weather stations have recorded significant rainfall amounts and that models indicate accumulations of more than 200mm in some places along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
In light of this, SAWS said: “Considering the vulnerability of some of these areas after recent events, severe impacts can be expected over the coastal areas and north-eastern parts of KZN today and tomorrow.”
The eThekwini Municipality has advised that the following roads will be closed as a precaution:
- Motorists are warned not to use the M7 due to mudslides and moving water across the roadway.
- Only the right lane is open going towards the M4 south bound leaving Margaret Mncadi Avenue (Victoria Embankment), all other lanes are flooded.
- Only one lane is open in the vicinity of the old airport.
- Avoid uMngeni Road as it is flooded.
- Tara Road and Quality Street in the South Durban Basin are flooded.
- Verulam Shari Road bridge in Everest Heights and bridges over Mountbatten and Varsity Drive on the M19 are flooding.
- Avoid Florence Masing Road behind Unisa.
- Avoid the N3 towards the CBD as there is lots of water.
- Avoid Cope Road, on the lower end of Alpine Road off Sydenham.
READ | KZN saw eight new rain records on 12 April, with Margate doubling a high set 25 years ago
The municipality said water levels on the roads and rivers are expected to rise and has cautioned residents to take note of the following:
- Isipingo onramp northbound water is high on the left lane.
- Southbound onramp at the airport water is high on the left side.
- Water is also high just before Platt Drive traffic lights on the left.
- Water is also high at the transit camp.
The municipality further warned motorists to drive carefully on the South Coast Road joining Blamey Road westbound to Montclair as there is a significant amount of water on the road.
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There is water and mud on the M7 in both directions between the N3 and Hans Detman while water is filling up in Caversham Road where a temporary repair was made.
Stapleton and Eden roads in Pinetown have flooded, along with the Stapleton Road off ramp from the M13, so motorists are also urged to be careful.
Residents are further urged to exercise caution and adhere to the following:
- Avoid crossing low-lying bridges, stream and rivers – Do not drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly and the ground is not visible – evacuate flooded areas immediately.
- Disconnect electrical appliances if your house has flooded.
- Stay away from powerlines and electrical wires.
- Keep your cellphone in close proximity and have emergency numbers at hand.
Disaster and Emergency Services can be contacted on 031 361 0000.
A road in the Desainager area has washed away taking with it a vehicle.
The Medi Response said luckily, the driver of the car managed to escape.
Medi Response said its search and rescue crews, together with SAPS K9 SAR and CERT, are on scene.
The ambulance services company said its response operations control centre has received numerous calls for localised flooding, mostly in the Tongaat area.
It said many of its units are attending to calls. “We urge the community to stay off of the roads where possible. Please monitor waterways and water bodies within proximity to your home. Be vigilant and vacate an area, if you anticipate risk of rising waters. Our crews are available to assist as required,” the emergency services company said on Saturday evening.
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