Durban – Violent storms – and the strong wind, rain and hail they brought with them – left a trail of devastation in Durban and parts of the province on Tuesday.
At least eight people were killed and a child has gone missing.
The southern regions were among the worst affected.
Robert McKenzie said a 12-year-old boy died after he was swept away in a stream in Izingolweni, inland from Port Shepstone, and confirmed he was aware of at least four deaths.
Police Search and Rescue units were at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, in Umlazi, where two people were killed during a wall collapse.
They were also in Old Main Road, in Isipingo, where one person was killed when the vehicle he was in became flooded.
In the Durban CBD, they attended the scene where a toilet wall collapsed, leaving one person dead.
Several private ambulance services raced to Rotterdam Road, in the Bayhead area, where a former police officer was crushed to death when a container fell on his car.
Rescue Care’s Garrith Jamieson said another man was rushed to hospital after a lengthy extrication.
Netcare 911’s Nick Dollman said reports from that scene indicated a 40-foot container – which was stacked on top of other containers – was blown over.
“Paramedics attended to the two occupants of the car. The first man, who was approximately 30 years old, had sustained relatively minor injuries but was trapped inside the car when the roof collapsed,” Dollman said. “He was in a stable condition and was transported by ambulance to hospital for further assessment and care.”
He confirmed that the other man, believed to be in his 40s, had sustained severe injuries and died at the scene.
“To access the victims, the container first had to be removed and then fire fighters and rescue personnel used the Jaws of Life,” Dollman said.
The Department for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs’s (Cogta’s) spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, confirmed two deaths in Nquthu, northern KZN.
“In ward 8, Mbewunye, an 8-year-old girl was struck by lightning and in ward 2, KwaMngxangala area, a 46-year-old male drowned while trying to cross a river,” Mabaso said.
IPSS Medical Rescue’s Paul Herbst said a little girl was missing on Tuesday afternoon.
This after she was washed away by raging floodwaters near the creche she was at, in Umlazi.
“A creche lying close to a nearby river flooded. The teacher from the creche managed to grab three of the children. Unfortunately a fourth child got swept down to the river in the floods,” he said.
IPSS, together with ER24, conducted a search down river but could not locate the girl.
Several others were rescued on Tuesday.
Jamieson said in Kingsway Road, in eManzimtoti, a family became stuck inside their below-road-level house, when it was flooded.
“Paramedics and SAPS entered the house and assisted a 14-year-old boy and an elderly lady to safety,” Jamieson said.
On the M7, before Sarnia Road, several vehicles were submerged under deep water.
Jamieson said paramedics Ceron Jacobs and Ian Wessels, along with firefighter Justin Bateman, bravely dived into the water and pulled three people out from a bus.
The National Sea Rescue Institute’s Craig Lambinon said during operations in Montclair and Isipingo, a baby was rescued from a flooded home.
The acting MEC of Cogta, Weziwe Thusi, Tuesday activated and dispatched disaster management teams to respond to the situation on the ground.
“Teams are providing emergency relief led by mayors, councillors, amakhosi, izinduna, ward councilors and community development workers,” Mabaso said.
He said the MEC had also activated joint operations centres in all affected municipalities.
“The department is warning that the extreme levels of rainfall will be followed by a cold front which is expected to reach KZN by the weekend. Disaster management teams will continue to provide emergency assistance as long as necessary,” Mabaso added.
The Department of Education, meanwhile, has advised parents to liaise with their children’s schools on whether or not they should send them to school on Wednesday.
Several schools had to suspend teaching on Tuesday and the department was last night still trying to establish the exact number of schools that had been affected.
But some have already reported water damage to classrooms‚ fallen trees and broken fences, and roof damages.
Spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said his offices had advised schools to assess their individual situations and decide on whether or not to hold classes today.
The eThekwini municipality is expected to hold a press conference today to brief media on the impact of the storm and its relief efforts. The Mercury