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KwaZulu-Natal South Coast hit by floods

by Edwin Tshivhidzo
on 18 Jun 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

At least 10 people have been rescued from rooftops and ferried to higher ground following the Umtamvuna River bursting its banks earlier this morning and flooding homes and businesses.

The rising water levels have left several people stranded as they sought the safety of their roofs and at least 200 people had been taken to local community halls for shelter in the Ugu district

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the river is now threatening to flood the nearby Pont Holiday Resort.

Craig Lambinon NSRI spokesperson said they have deployed volunteers at the resort to assist with the evacuation of holidaymakers and hotel staff. The resort has been closed.

No injuries or fatalities have been reported thus far.

"At 6am, amid unconfirmed reports of suspected drownings in progress, our volunteers were activated to respond to Pont Holiday Resort towing our rescue craft Rescue 32 Alpha and a Lifeguard rescue rubber-duck launched on arrival on-scene," Mr Lambinon said.

The NSRI, in conjunction with other emergency services, are also currently investigating reports of cars washed away with people in them in the area.

Geoff Hoskins, NSRI Shelley Beach Station Commander told BuaNews they had deployed volunteers at around midnight on Tuesday to assist the emergency services in evacuating local residents to higher ground.

"Due to the amount of debris in the water our NSRI rescue rigid inflatable craft could not be launched on the scene and our rescue swimmers in wet-suits and lifeguards using jet-ski's assisted an unconfirmed number of residents to higher ground," he said.

According to NSRI, by early this morning only three houses in the village remained unaffected by the flooding with many homes engulfed by water.

"No fatalities or injuries are reported despite some residents being treated for mild hypothermia," Mr Hoskins said.

NSRI Durban, NSRI Shelley Beach and NSRI Port Edward remain on high alert to assist the emergency services who are continuing to monitor and assist flooded areas.

The Umtamvuna River Lodge Restaurant, situated not far away from the Umtamvuna River, has also been closed.

Umtamvuna River Lodge Restaurant Manager Nicole Whitely told BuaNews, although there were no guests currently staying at the lodge, they decided to close the establishment until the situation returns to normal.

"We have not encountered much damage but felt for safety reasons we should close until weekend," she said.

A nearby caravan park, however, has been badly hit with most of the boats and caravans stationed there badly damaged by the floods.

The Durban Metropolitan Police have urged motorists to use alternate routes during the course of the day and motorists traveling to the area are urged to be extra careful.

The Durban Weather Bureau has warned that the downpour will continue throughout the day and that only by the end of the week it is expected to clear. - BuaNews


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