The recent severe storm winds and heavy rainfall that affected various areas of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have had a devastating impact on the province. As of now, the confirmed number of fatalities stands at seven, and more than 100 people have been displaced from their homes.

By Staff Reporter

The death toll resulting from the devastating storm winds and heavy rainfall that swept through various regions of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) earlier this week has now climbed to seven, according to official reports.

The most recent remains discovered in a canal along Bayhead Road in Durban have been identified as those of a young woman in her twenties and a teenage girl.

According to a statement from the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance, areas most severely affected by the disaster are Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Pinetown, and Folweni in the Durban Metro. On the South Coast, the municipalities of Umzumbe, Umdoni at Scottburgh, and the Umuziwabantu Municipality between Port Shepstone and Kokstad have also been heavily impacted.

Chaos and frustration after the storm

The government of KZN has reported that approximately 70 houses in the eThekwini Metro were completely destroyed, while an additional 110 houses suffered partial damage. The roofs of these houses were damaged, walls collapsed, and some houses were flooded. As a result, a total of 552 people have been affected, with 151 of them now homeless.

Residents of Folweni had to do the hard work of fixing up their homes, which were submerged in a metre of floodwater and had all of their furniture and appliances destroyed. Residents who were interviewed by said they had nothing but the clothes on their backs.

In an interview with the SABC, Hlengiwe Yinda, aged 56, and Jabu Khathi, aged 61, expressed their deep distress regarding the ongoing issue of the inadequate drainage system in their municipality. They revealed that they have persistently appealed to the local authorities over the course of several years, urging them to take measures to enhance the drainage infrastructure.

“Every year when the floods start, I am always affected because my furniture gets damaged as water floods my entire house and all my electrical items get damaged. This is not the first time this has happened. We are always promised by authorities that this ravine would be fixed.”

Another resident told the SABC: “They promised us that the pipes would be fixed, but water managed to get in through the windows. We would like the government to intervene and assist us with fixing the road that slides the water through into our houses. We need bigger pipes in the ravine. We also want authorities to move us into a safe place where we can live in peace.”

Phumlani Mthembu, on the other hand, mentions that his house has unfortunately experienced flooding for the third time: “I can’t even begin to explain this because I bought my furniture after my house was flooded last year. This is the third time being flooded. I still have the receipts for my furniture and the prices as you can see this is the only furniture I am left with because the rest of my furniture was washed away by the floods. There’s nothing here that you can use because it’s all damaged.”

Aid for storm victims

Non-governmental organizations are currently collecting crucial items to offer aid to people affected by the storm. Rachel Kinloch from the Angel Network Durban has mentioned that they are utilizing social networks as a means to collect donations.

“It seems to be unbelievable that Durban again has had to deal with another natural disaster, our biggest concern at the moment is the amount of roof sheets and material that was blown away. We are going to be focusing on building materials and trying to get the communities to rebuild and come together and help everyone who lost their homes. What we use is social media, we are on Facebook, and we are on Instagram, when something happens, we put up a disaster plea and we give our banking details, funding is very important.”

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