Maverick Citizen

DEADLY STORM

Death toll climbs to five after Margate pounded by devastating storm-force winds, floods 

Death toll climbs to five after Margate pounded by devastating storm-force winds, floods 
Severely damaged businesses and infrastructure in Margate, KwaZulu-Natal, owing to flooding. (Photos: Supplied)

Images of sunken roads, huge trees blocking streets and fallen buildings were emerging from Margate in Ray Nkonyeni Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal since the weekend. Damage assessments are underway after heavy downpours and gale-force winds killed five people.

The death toll following a storm, heavy rains and flooding in and around Margate has risen to five.

Three people drowned when a vehicle they were travelling in was washed away by floods. One person was struck by lightning while the fifth victim fell from a roof while attempting to stay safe from the flooding.

Additionally, two people were reported injured in the Umgababa area in the south of eThekwini.

Although investigations are yet to be concluded in eThekwini, over 35 households were damaged by the heavy rains, affecting about 160 people. Two people from the area were confirmed injured and are recovering in hospital.

Margate floods

Three people were killed after a vehicle was washed off a bridge near Fiddlewood Farm in Margate during a flood. (Photo: @_ArriveAlive/X)

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, organised inter-departmental disaster response efforts in the areas of Margate under Ugu District and eThekwini Metro after heavy rains left a trail of destruction from Sunday.

“Sadly, five people have been confirmed to have passed away in the Margate area. In the aftermath of the destruction, MEC Sithole-Moloi, together with the local leadership have extended heartfelt condolences to all the families that have lost their loved ones as a result of the inclement weather,” a Cogta statement read.

The heavy downpours also caused extensive damage to businesses, households, and infrastructure. Several roads and businesses remain closed in the centre of Margate as mop-up operations continue. The Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality has also temporarily closed its 10 beaches as a precautionary measure. The beaches, including Hibberdene, Umzumbe, Southport, St. Michaels, Uvongo, Manaba, Margate, Ramsgate, Trafalgar, and Port Edward, will remain closed until further notice.

Margate

South Coast beaches have been closed as a precaution following the deadly storm. (Photo: @_ArriveAlive/X)

Businesses impacted

Some businesses on the beachfront were washed away as nearby streams overflowed, causing serious damage to roads, sewer infrastructure, traffic lights, and electricity. Among the most affected businesses was a car dealership where over seven vehicles were washed away.

Yvonne Bausek runs the Margate Bowling Club which was one of the worst-hit businesses. She said she is heartbroken, as the club is at the heart of the community where bowling enthusiasts often have tournaments.

Margate floods

Heavy rains and subsequent floods in Margate have caused mass devastation to businesses and homes. (Photo: @_ArriveAlive/X)

MEC Sithole-Moloi pledged ongoing support to the regional disaster response efforts.

“The extent of the damages will require intervention from the various departments with whom we have engaged. We have also engaged the national government. Once our teams have concluded the interim report, we will submit it for further intervention. In due course, other MECs will make necessary interventions, particularly concerning households, infrastructure, and businesses.

“At this stage, we are relieved that no families have been moved to mass care centres, although they suffered damages. But they had roofs over their heads, and our teams have been distributing disaster relief to support them. We will also be visiting the families of the victims to offer emotional support and all the assistance we normally provide during such disasters,” said Sithole-Moloi.

Margate

Rescue Services were on standby assisting people out of vehicles during Sunda night’s floods in Margate. (Photo: @_ArriveAlive/X)

With more rain expected in some parts of the province, Sithole-Moloi has pleaded with communities to adhere to weather alerts and take precautionary measures. Motorists are strongly advised to not travel during heavy rain, as bridges and roads may be impacted by further flooding and pose serious threats to life.

Sithole-Moloi added that estimated values of damages will be communicated once disaster teams conclude their assessments.

Officials have reassured locals that all relevant departments are on alert  “transport, health, social development, economic development, and home affairs to attend to the pressing issues”. DM

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