Lives lost, homes destroyed: Ladysmith floods wreak havoc on small town, more than 100 residents evacuated

  • Torrential rains in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal caused severe flooding and extensive damage
  • Police and other relief personnel responded to calls from displaced families in the area
  • KZN Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka says 25 people have died and R3.3 billion in damage has been suffered in the current summer season

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Reports of hectic flooding in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal have confirmed the loss of life, the threat to security, damage to infrastructure and the stark reality of how people’s lives have been disrupted.

The Ladysmith SAPS K9 Search and Rescue Unit responded to several calls for help in low lying areas along the Klipriver. Image: @SAPoliceService / Twitter
Source: Twitter

The floods are the result of torrential rains in the area over the past two weeks. People have lost loved ones, homes, valuables and livelihoods with no way of knowing when or how they will be able to pick up the pieces. The media reported on the development of the natural disaster as well as the rescues and evacuations of residents.

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The South African Police Service (SAPS) reported that the Ladysmith K9 Search and Rescue Unit responded to several calls for help in low lying areas along the Klip River.

“Members of Pietermaritzburg Search and Rescue were also called in to assist and evacuate stranded community members throughout the evening until late afternoon yesterday (Monday January 17)” SAPS noted.

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Around 150 people have been successfully evacuated by police and rescue personnel to Ladysmith Indoor Sport’s Center so far. This is after homes and businesses in the CBD were completely flooded when the Klip River overflowed on Sunday evening January 16, reports The witness.

SAFM said the uThukela District Municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands was also badly affected by the weather and many of its services were disrupted.

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the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of KwaZulu-Natal (cogta) noted:

“He will continue to support and coordinate the response of the municipalities concerned in partnership with the sector departments.”

Speaking to the media, KZN Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka said he was working with officials and local authorities to determine the extent of the flood damage.

“So far, 25 people have died, one person is missing and R3.3 billion in damage has been sustained during the current summer season. We urge residents to be careful,” Hlomuka said as quoted on The witness.

Online users shared their perspective on the heartbreaking disaster:

@ThoughtsRhymes reacted:

“Yho! Climate change is real.

@LishleM commented:

“The biggest mistake that was ever made with the town of Ladysmith, they built it where there is a floodplain. Therefore, when it rains, there are heavy floods. Also, the maintenance of their storm sewers is quite poor. It would also make a great research topic for my Masters.

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@umalambane_zn replied:

“Ladysmith really needs to work on the city’s drainage system because these rains aren’t going anywhere.”

Heavy rain floods hundreds of homes in horrified Hammanskraal, SA

In brief News Previously reported that residents of Hammanskraal, outside Tshwane, were devastated following heavy rains which left around 300 households inundated in Majaneng village.

It comes as various parts of Gauteng continue to be battered by a torrential downpour. SABC News reported that people whose homes had not been affected by the flash floods banded together to offer shelter to some affected residents.

Members of the South African National Civic Organization (SANCO) said homes are inevitably flooded when the area experiences a heavy downpour. The lack of a stormwater drainage system has exacerbated the problem, according to Joseph Tshewane, who is a member of the civic organization.

Source: News in Brief

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