Durban – Two thousand volunteers have been roped in to assist mop-up operations following devastating flash-floods across KwaZulu-Natal that killed three people and damaged homes and other infrastructure.
Gertrude Radebe, 92, said she had never seen so much rainfall.
Radebe, who walks with the aid of sticks and lives off a grant, said she slept in her house after it flooded.
However, even with that stroke of misfortune, Radebe was still able to joke, showing the Daily News her identity document and quipping that she was quite the looker in her day.
When Radebe fell ill in 2014, her daughter, Gloria Hadebe, moved into the two-room house with her.
Hadebe said she had filled several buckets of water and had to place the furniture and beds on bricks to keep it above the water.
A few houses down in Amanzimtoti Road, in KwaMashu C section, every room in Thembi Myeza’s house was either muddy or soaking wet.
Myeza, 57, said stormwater drains had burst and flooded her home.
“A 1-month-old baby had to be taken out through the window, and so was I. The water got into my house and in the cupboards. My sofas are wet and the beds were floating,” Myeza said.
She added that she had not started cleaning up yet because she did not know where to start.
“All my food is ruined and I am starving,” she said.
Myeza said she did not go to work and her two grandchildren did not go to school, adding that the family slept at neighbours’ houses on Sunday night.
While Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube went door to door, members of the community barricaded Amanzimtoti and Isipingo roads, protesting because of the damage sustained.
Dube-Ncube said KwaMashu, Inanda, Newtown, Verulam and Amaoti were all affected by the rainfall.
“We have organised 2 000 volunteers who will go to each house, clean and help the community. We are also organising the Expanded Public Works Programme to help because there are a lot of elderly people who cannot clean for themselves,” Dube-Ncube said.
Cogta said a father, mother and child from Amaoti had been washed away during the storm. The bodies of the father and child had been found, but the mother was still missing. In another incident, two people were reported missing in the Verulam area.
EThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede said some of the displaced people were being accommodated at Amaoti Hall in Inanda. Gumede said that disaster management officials and volunteers would assess conditions and provide the necessary support.