Inclement weather conditions have commenced in the northern parts of the province. KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has urged residents to exercise extreme caution as weather conditions are expected to deteriorate and bring the possibility of widespread flooding in areas within the uMkanyakude district.

Earlier in the week, Hlomuka placed disaster management teams on high alert in the uMkhanyakude district where extensive efforts began by local disaster management teams to warn residents in areas that are expected to be severely affected by the disruptive rainfall caused by Cyclone Eloise.

The areas of Big Five-Hlabisa, Jozini, Mtubatuba and uMhlabuyalingana are expected to receive severe rainfall from this afternoon into tomorrow. These weather conditions will likely pose risks to human life.

In light of the high risk of widespread flooding of roads and houses, KZN Cogta has, in collaboration with the Departments of Transport and Human Settlements, introduced contingency measures aimed at providing speedy relief to families should the need arise.

The department has also engaged municipalities under the uMkhanyakude district to open community halls in the identified areas to temporarily house vulnerable families.

The inclement weather conditions are also expected to affect parts of the King Cetshwayo and Zululand districts (Abaqulusi, eDumbe, Mthonjaneni, Nongoma, Ulundi, uMlalazi and uPhongolo), although to a lesser extent. Disaster management teams are on alert in these areas where heavy rains could be a possibility.

The South African Weather Service has also alerted the department to the possibility of damaging winds along the coastal areas of the province. This could cause localised flooding in low-lying areas (coastal inundation/storm surge estuary flooding). Residents within coastal areas are urged to be cautious.