DURBAN, October 11 – The harbour city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal was flooded on Tuesday by heavy rains that caused the death on a policeman and extensive damage to roads, buildings, and motor vehicles.
The policeman was crushed to death when a container dislodged by the storm fell on his car. His partner was injured. Four other people were reported dead, including a toddler who was washed away when the crèche was flooded.
Images of the deluge and floods were posted on social media. There were pictures of motorists marooned in their lanes in rising water levels. In other places vehicles were completely submerged.
The City’s Disaster Management Call Centre was kept busy fielding calls for help from all sectors of Durban society and emergency rescuers were kept busy around the clock rescuing submerged passengers, helping people and attending to the injured.
Poor drainage of the city’s roads compounded the problems as Durban was also battered by winds of more than 70km/h. King Shaka International Airport experienced wind speeds up to 120km/h.
The roofs of some buildings flew off, and shipping containers and even trucks teetered tottered and fell over, causing another level of danger and putting lives at risk.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said five hospitals, King Edward, Addington, King Dinuzulu and Wentworth and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial hospitals, were badly affected by the storm.
The roof of King Edward VIII Hospital collapsed, resulting in patients needing to be evacuated, and there were reports of mudslides and a school on the Bluff collapsing.
City officials, observing the extent of the damage sent a stern warning to residents to remain indoors.
The extent of the damage sustained to the city will only become apparent in the next few days as residents, insurers and the city take stock of the damage that may run into billions of rands worth of damage, claims and repairs.