Ladysmith – The KwaZulu-Natal Disaster Management Teams have provided a swift response to the flooding in Ladysmith town and surrounding areas, which was caused by heavy rains last night. Our teams, including SAPS, Traffic Police, Emergency Services, and social partners, were on high alert, closely monitoring different areas due to the level 2 warning issued by the South African Weather Services.

Upon realising that a significant amount of water was flowing into Ladysmith Town, some of the roads, including the N11 between Newcastle and Ladysmith, had to be temporarily closed to mitigate the risk. Some of the roads will remain closed as the town is still flooded. Approximately 70 people were evacuated from the Ladysmith central placed in the Indoor Sport Center to ensure everyone’s safety.

Our teams also responded to the Steadville Township area, where 15 people had to be evacuated to the community hall, and another 23 in Matiwane were placed in the community hall for their safety.

The Provincial Disaster Teams, working with he Al-Imdaad Foundation for Disaster and the South African Red Cross, have provided disaster relief to the affected people, including blankets and mattresses.

On another incident disaster teams also responded in the area of Msinga, where people residing in a block of rental rooms built along the uThukela River were evacuated, as the river was overflowing after heavy rains.

Our teams are monitoring the situation, and once the area has been confirmed to be safe, they will all return to their homes. At this stage, neither fatalities nor injuries have been recorded as a result of this heavy rainfall. Our teams are on the ground conducting assessments of the damages to households, businesses and infrastructure.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, has appreciated the cooperation between the community and the disaster management teams and communities in mitigating risk by adhering to the evacuation plans to save lives.

“We would like to express our sympathy to all families and businesses that have been affected by yet another rainstorm that hit our province. We commend the swift response by our team, and our priority is to save human lives, particularly as we are still reeling from the devastation caused by rains during the holidays that claims many lives in KZN. We encourage communities to work together with us in this response by adhering to the instructions given to them. We will continue to provide disaster relief, and all our municipalities will be out to ensure every family at risk is assessed to receive assistance. Heavy rains are not over yet, and we plead with communities to continue exercising extreme caution by moving to safer places when it rains,” she said.

The disaster management teams are still continuing with the assessments, and an update will be issued once we confirm all the impacts of the heavy rains.