LOOK: Parts of eThekwini devastated by strong winds, heavy rains in KZN



Published Jun 3, 2024


eThekwini Municipality said heavy rains accompanied by strong winds have left a trail of destruction in various areas of the region on Monday.

The most significant damages have been reported in uThongathi, parts of the Durban Central Business District, Umgababa and surrounding areas while in the western part of the city fallen trees have blocked roads in Fields Hill, Gillitts and Assagay.

The municipality said heavy rains have also caused localised flooding in some parts of the City.

“eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda will visit affected areas tomorrow morning (Tuesday) to assess the extent of the damage,” said a statement on Monday night.

“Emergency response teams have been deployed and are on the ground to provide emergency relief to those affected. Disaster management teams are compiling reports to ensure a consolidated government response. We also have law enforcement agencies on the ground, including Metro Police and Fire and Emergency personnel who are attending to those in distress,” said Kaunda.

The City issued a level 4 warning around 12 midday on Monday following a weather warning by the SA Weather Service urging residents and motorists to be extra cautious.

According to the municipality, its disaster management teams responded to a number of emergency calls from around 4.20pm this afternoon as adverse weather conditions battered parts of the City, causing severe damage to households, schools, municipal property, businesses and infrastructure.

“The heavy rains have also caused damage to water and electricity infrastructure in uThongathi, leaving some communities without water and electricity,” said the municipality.

The municipality said the immediate priority is to ensure the safety of those affected and that mop-up operations will begin once assessments have been completed.

Meanwhile, unverified videos have been circulating on social media of a suspected “tornado”.

In one of the videos, debris is seen flying in the air near a funnel of wind.

Last year, “The Mercury” reported that the strong winds that formed a funnel that many residents believed to be a tornado that affected areas north of Durban was a landspout phenomenon according to the SA Weather Service.

The landspout accompanied by heavy rainfall caused significant damage in various parts of the province, with Inanda township in the north of Durban being the most severely affected.

There were also reports of large hailstones in parts of eThekwini.

Reaction Unit South Africa(Rusa) spokesperson Prem Balram said several residents were injured in uThongathi.

Balram said Rusa’s uThongathi Operations centre became inundated with calls for assistance from residents from 4.38pm.

He said all available reaction officers and Rusa paramedics were immediately dispatched to assist with the high volume of call outs.

“Several homes in Magwaveni and Sandfields in KZN have collapsed. Dozens of residents including minor children seeking shelter from the storm were injured in structural collapses.

“Trees were uprooted and blocked roads causing major traffic jams. Several vehicles were also damaged,” he said, adding that several of the injured have been transported to medical facilities.

IPSS Medical Rescue and IPSS Search and Rescue deployed multiple teams between uThongathi and Ballito.

IPSS spokesperson Samantha Meyrick urged motorists to avoid travelling due to the debris on the roads including power lines, trees and homes.

“IPSS teams are attending to multiple collapsed homes and medical emergencies,” she said.

According to information shared on the IPSS group, Maidstone Primary School in uThongathi has become the casualty collection point.

“Medical teams are mobile to assist patients. Rescue teams are still working in multiple locations, assisting people in collapsed structures.”

In case of an emergency, the public can contact the City’s Disaster Management Centre at 031 361 0000.

The Mercury