There was a heavy inundation yesterday and last night, in Durban as rain and floods swept through the coastal city.1 People, homes and businesses were devastated. The torrent of rain was so strong that there was a hurricane that blew through Inanda and Phoenix.2 According to the Security Company Rection Unit South Africa (RUSA) said a herdsman in Zwlisha, northwest of Durban had been presumed dead after being swept away by floods.3 The herdsman in question was trying to cross a river while herding his cows.4 RUSA spokesperson Vinod Singh said the adult male was seen by witnesses herding his cattle during the torrent of rain on yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.5 Rescue groups have yet to retrieve his body.6 The RUSA spokesperson Singh stated that the herdsman was trying to cross the river when he was swept away with a cow.7
The Cow managed to make it across the man did not.8 Meanwhile most of Durban was devastated.
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Heavy rains pummeled Phoenix, Inanda and parts of KwaMashu in Durban on Tuesday, leaving several people injured and homes and buildings damaged. The South African Weather Service (Saws) issued a level 2 warning for disruptive rain and thundershowers which pummeled the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal and eThekwini, leading to flooding. According to the warning, there are indications of up to 50mm of rain in the Ugu and eThekwini district municipalities. In Inanda, residents were left horrified when a tornado swept through the area, tearing off corrugated roofs, wooden gates and fences. The flying debris swirled in the air, causing damage and panic among residents who tried to get out of harm’s way.
When TimesLIVE visited the area on Tuesday, some residents said they were devastated and heartbroken by the damage. The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said it had asked the MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs Bongi Sithole-Moloi, MEC for human settlements and public works, Cde Sipho Nkosi as well as eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to respond with a “high sense of urgency and assist the affected families”. “The ravaging tornado brings home the fact that extreme weather patterns continue to have devastating effects on KwaZulu-Natal and Durban in particular.” (In Pics| flooding, flying debris and heartache in Inanda after heavy rain and tornado)
The floods when they occurred were certainly an unexpected outcome. Shacks and other homes where people live would have been no match for the deluge when it occurred. Their limited and uninsured possessions would have been washed away in the receding floods. They and their loved ones would have little time to gather their belongings as they made their way to higher ground. The tornado being a strong wind as a result of hot and cold temperatures coming together with has torn through the squatters’ hovels like paper. Corrugated iron is no match for strong winds. There was certainly no time to prepare for the disaster. Who could be prepared for it when it occurred? The state is partially responsible for being unprepared as they are in charge of constructing proper houses or providing the materials for doing so to the recipients. What has the municipality being doing with all the money they collected in terms of rates? Homes have been flooded and infrastructure has been ruined. A visit by the Kwa Zulu Natal MEC for Human Settlements to areas struck by the floods to make promises won’t be enough. It is all well and good for the MECs for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements and the EThekwini Mayor to respond with “high sense of urgency and assist the affected families” but this requires concrete action to be made.
People need security and proper medical care above all else in these times of devastation. It depends on the response by both civil society and the state and what we can learn from the previous disaster. Disasters like this can be attributed to climate change.