The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) is coordinating relief efforts amid the worst storm that hit many parts of the province.
The storm, which hit the province on Tuesday morning, caused major damage to hospitals, factories, homes and other key infrastructure.
According to a Cogta report, the storm caused power outages in various areas, with two deaths reported. Many residential areas, including businesses, especially in eThekwini Metro, reported flash flooding.
Most areas in eThekwini were reported to be affected by strong winds with heavy downpours, resulting in the falling of trees and some housing infrastructure in areas of Umlazi, Amanzimtoti and Montclair.
“Other major incidents have been reported in Nquthu Local Municipality in Ward 8 of Mbewunye, where an eight-year-old girl was struck by lightning, and in Ward 2 KwaMngxangala area, where a 46-year-old male drowned while trying to cross an overflowing river.
“Ugu District Municipality has reported that Mbango Bridge under Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality and Umzinto Bridge in Mdoni are flooding,” spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said.
Mabaso said traffic authorities are closely monitoring the situation.
Acting MEC for Cogta, Weziwe Thusi, has activated and dispatched all disaster management teams to respond to the situation on the ground.
Currently, teams are providing emergency relief led by mayors, councillors, amakhosi, izinduna, ward councillors and community development workers.
MEC Thusi has also activated Joint Operations Centres in all affected municipalities, which are coordinating relief and rapid response efforts.
The MEC has urged residents in all parts of the province to exercise extra caution as the heavy rain and gale force winds will prevail for the rest of today.
“We warn those living next to river banks and low-lying areas, as localised flooding is expected along the coast and in many parts of the South Coast and eThekwini Metro. All reported weather-related incidents will be attended to and residents are urged to contact their councillors.
“We are also urging motorists to avoid all but necessary travel, as some roads such as the N2 freeway has been closed in both directions at Amanzimtoti due to severe flooding caused by a massive storm that hit this area this morning. Motorists are requested to tune into weather reports as they plan their journeys,” MEC Thusi said.
The department has further warned that the extreme levels of rainfall experienced on Tuesday will be followed by a cold front, which is expected to reach the province by the weekend.
Disaster management teams will continue to provide emergency assistance as long as necessary.
Communities can contact disaster management in their respective municipalities, or disaster personnel for urgent assistance:
Provincial Disaster Centre: 0800 005133
EThekwini: 0834615073 (V Ngubane)
Ugu: 0823324000 (Makhosi Mgobhozi)
UMgungundlovu: 0828860747 (Lindiwe Serero)
UThukela: 0763318177 (Bongi Hlomuka)
UMzinyathi: 0828422859 (Mzwandile Hadebe)
Amajuba: 0836041904 (OT Hadebe)
Zululand: 0828132925 (Sipho Dlamini)
UMkhanyakude: 0769253252 (S’fiso Ngema)
King Cetshwayo: 0726252983 (Thabo Mlambo)
ILembe: 071 879 7155 (S’fiso Gqubula)
Harry Gwala: 0828057892 (Thandi Dzanibe)