Reports of the recent floods’ devastation continue to emerge from various parts of the Eastern Cape. The OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo regions have been the hardest hit.
The province has only recorded one death as a result of the flooding, but hundreds of homes have been damaged and numerous bridges have been washed away. The road system in the affected areas has also been harmed.
President Cyril Ramaphosa this week declared the National State of Disaster in response to the widespread floods. He said the decision was made to ensure an effective response across all spheres of government.
Port St Johns was particularly hard hit, but towns such as Mbizana and its environs, Nqeleni, and others were also impacted by the torrential rains.
The mayor of Port St Johns, Nomvuzo Mlombile-Cingo says, “Port St Johns has been hard hit. For example, we are at the Nonyevu area, at the moment above Green Farm where three houses have collapsed, the first one collapsed, hit the second one and the second one hit the third house and they all went down the stream.”
Residents of the Mbizana-based Winnie Madikizela Mandela Municipality were also affected and 30 houses collapsed and 12 bridges were washed away.
Schooling in the area is also affected due to accessibility as many roads are damaged.
The mayor of the Winnie Madikizela Mandela Municipality, Daniswa Mafumbatha, says six of the people who died in KwaZulu-Natal are from Mbizana.
“About 12 bridges that have been washed away, and also 6the roads, both the provincial and national and the access roads have been heavily damaged and also there are those learners that are unable to go to school because of the bridges that have been washed away. I think the condition in the Winnie Madikizela Mandela Municipality is very bad. As we have started to see the sun other houses are starting to collapse because you know that our houses are muddy houses,” says Daniswa Mafumbatha.
Nkosinathi Sitshaka and Nomanono Nyawuza lost all their belongings in the floods.
“We are extremely devastated about the recent floods, we have no homes, no food nothing. We really need help from the government. We do not know what to do at this particular moment. School uniforms are submerged in the mud. Our kids can no longer go to school. We need shelter. We are temporarily staying at our neighbour’s place. Anytime we can be taken out of this place.”
Vukile Mhlelembana, Mayor of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality, says his region has been severely impacted; affected areas include Ntabankulu, Matateile, and Mzimvubu.
“This rain also affected a lot of areas including Ntabankulu , Winnie Madikizela Mandela and Matateile. There are people that have passed away, roads are damaged. People cannot access town, they cannot access schools, they cannot access clinics, they cannot access police stations, bridges swept out,” says Mhlelembana.
KZN Floods | Counting the cost of the damage to housing and infrastructure: