Storm chaos: Durban under water, disaster relief for Gauteng

2017-10-10 13:19

As Gauteng starts counting the cost of yesterday’s massive downpour, Durban has been hit by a storm that has turned the N2 highway into a raging torrent.

Videos on social media captured cars being swept away.

The massive storm has left a trail of chaos and flooding in its wake, and has also caused damage to an area of King Edward Hospital, as well as at Addington and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial hospitals.

The eThekwini Municipality issued a warning and urged residents to stay indoors until the storm subsides.

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has sent out a notice of immediate suspension of its services to Metrorail communters in KwaZulu-Natal due to the looming bad weather.

The rail agency suspects possible damage to its railway lines. 

"Passengers are encouraged to seek alternative transportation until the storm has passed and Metrorail has assessed the post-storm conditions of the rail lines, only then will Metrorail send an announcement on the resumption of services," said Prasa in a statement this afternoon.

Meanwhile, disaster management teams have started fanning out across the West and East Rand to assess the full impact of the devastating storms that swept across Gauteng yesterday.

The department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs said today it would also provide humanitarian relief to devastated areas. About 500 people who lost their homes in Orient Hills, near Magaliesburg, are being moved to a community hall in Magaliesburg, said Cogta spokesperson Mogomotsi Mogodiri.

“It is a catastrophe,” said Mogodiri after Monday afternoon’s hailstorm destroyed homes and vehicles. The roof of the Cradlestone Mall in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg was blown off. Two people were injured.

At least one school on the West Rand had its roof blown off, said Mogodiri.

The storm caused so much damage at Laerskool Protearif that the school had to close. The building has been declared unsafe and it will cost hundreds of thousands of rands to restore it to an operational condition.

The damage to Laerskool Protearif in Krugersdorp was extensive. Picture: Facebook

Mogodiri said the state’s first priority was to ensure that people were safe, and given temporary aid such as food, blankets and shelter. People living in flashpoints would also be assisted in case there was another storm.

Three people were killed and more than a dozen injured. Netwerk24 reported that an accident near Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp claimed the life of one person, while Gauteng traffic police spokesperson Busaphi Nxumalo said two others had also died near the Cradle of Humankind on the West Rand at around 7pm.

A man and his two children sustained minor to serious injuries after their house collapsed during a storm in Bapsfontein, Ekurhuleni.

In Delmas, Mpumalanga, six people sustained minor to moderate injuries after a small business was damaged during a heavy storm.

Mogodiri said the full death and injury toll was not yet available.

According to Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi, three people were injured in Zandspruit, also west of Johannesburg, when advertising billboards were blown off. Mogodiri said that anyone who wants to assist with relief efforts should contact the affected municipality. – Additional reporting News24

This article was updated with the Prasa statement

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February 25 2018