Disaster management teams across KwaZulu-Natal have been put on high alert as heavy rains are expected to lash the province on Monday.
Residents living in low-lying areas have been advised to be on standby to relocate to safer areas.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a Level 6 weather warning for some parts of KwaZulu-Natal, including Durban.
According to the weather service, heavy rainfall is expected which may result in localised flooding to formal and informal settlements, and structural damage.
The KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance and traditional affairs department issued a warning on Sunday night cautioning residents to expect flooding in coastal and midlands districts of the province.
“The South African Weather Services has raised the alert level to orange, Level 6 — the highest warning level — due to the high risk of flooding that may damage roads, bridges, formal and informal settlements,” the department said in a statement.
“The anticipated rainfall is expected to persist from Monday afternoon until midnight and could result in damage within the following municipalities: eThekwini Metro, Ugu, Harry Gwala, Ilembe, and Umgungundlovu District Municipalities. The department has convened an urgent meeting with the Joint Operation Cluster which includes all municipalities that may be affected and disaster teams to put proactive measures in place”.
The eThekwini Municipality emergency teams are also on high alert and are monitoring the situation hour-by-hour. Previous experience has shown them that the situation can change rapidly.
“Furthermore, all Disaster Management Centers have been activated to monitor the weather pattern and risk and respond to any unforeseen events. The Joint Operations Command teams will assess the readiness status of all municipalities likely to be impacted,” the City said in a statement.
“Residents in low-lying areas are advised to relocate to safer areas if necessary,” it said.
“We appeal to all residents to closely monitor the situation and take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of lives during this period of heavy rainfall. Livestock owners are urged to find secure locations and adhere to safety measures that will be communicated through disaster centres”.
KwaZulu-Natal authorities are still dealing with the aftermath of the devastating floods that wreaked havoc on the city in April 2022.
According to a study by researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and the University of Brighton, UK, published in the South African Geographical Journal, the April 2022 floods were the most catastrophic natural disaster yet recorded in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in collective terms of lives lost, homes and infrastructure damaged or destroyed and economic impact.
The study found that Iin April 2022, the KZN coastal zone, including the greater Durban area and South Coast, received more than 300mm of rain in 24 hours.
This led to calamitous flooding, with 459 people losing their lives and 88 people still missing by the end of May 2022. Over 4,000 homes were destroyed, 40,000 people left homeless, and 45,000 people were temporarily left unemployed. The cost of infrastructure and business losses amounted to an estimated R20 billion.