One dead as rain soaks re­gion

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - FRONT PAGE - Or­rin Singh

DE­SPITE a num­ber of ac­ci­dents on wet roads, only one life was re­ported lost dur­ing the in­tense rains of the past two days.

But it was a close call for two oc­cu­pants of a ve­hi­cle stranded on a low-level bridge with the rag­ing Amatikulu River sweep­ing them away.

The dra­matic scene that un­folded ended in re­lief as a lo­cal farmer and In­duna spot­ted the oc­cu­pants in dis­tress, stand­ing on the roof of the car, and acted quickly.

A trac­tor was called from the nearby Wyn­ston Farm and the ve­hi­cle and oc­cu­pants were pulled safely to the bank.

The known fa­tal­ity oc­cured when a fu­eltanker and a car col­lided near the Tugela Bridge, clos­ing the N2 north-bound lane yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) morn­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to IPSS Me­dial Res­cue’s Paul Herbst, the Kwadukuza Fire Depart­ment used the Jaws of Life to free the trapped driver’s body from the wreck­age.

‘The driver of the truck was lucky to es­cape with mi­nor in­juries,’ said Herbst. It was a case of eyes on the skies as tor­ren­tial rains hit es­pe­cially the coastal ar­eas within the re­gion on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

Co­in­ci­den­tally, this fol­lows the ex­act pat­tern of tor­ren­tial rain the area re­ceived in the same week of May last year.

Re­ports in­di­cate the down­pours were the re­sult of a low pres­sure sys­tem off the coast of Mada­gas­car and the Mozam­bique Chan­nel, re­sult­ing in an on­shore flow.

While game re­serves within the re­gion are joy­ful at the amount of rain­fall over the past two days, lo­cal sugar cane farm­ers will now face de­lays in har­vest­ing as lands are too swamped for ve­hi­cles to ac­cess.

Sadly, lit­tle rain has fallen in the crit­i­cal Goed­ertrouw Dam catch­ment area.

With more down­pours pre­dicted, dis­as­ter man­age­ment teams re­main on standby as swollen rivers, sub­merged bridges, blocked roads and flooded homes are at­tended to.

The City of uMh­lathuze con­firmed yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) af­ter­noon that at least 100 peo­ple had been evac­u­ated from low-ly­ing ar­eas which had ex­pe­ri­enced flash flood­ing.

‘The City of uMh­lathuze Dis­as­ter, Fire and Res­cue teams were dis­patched to var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties to res­cue those who were in danger.

‘Evac­u­a­tions were con­ducted and our teams re­main on standby.

‘We have noted some dam­age to houses, road in­fra­struc­ture, drainage and storm wa­ter drainage with our sys­tems work­ing to ca­pac­ity in some ar­eas fail­ing to cope.

‘The P230 road be­tween Em­pan­geni and Nk­walini/ eShowe was also closed due to flood­ing.

‘We urge com­mu­ni­ties to co­op­er­ate with evac­u­a­tion or­ders and also plead with road users to drive with ex­tra cau­tion.

‘Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can con­tact our Call Cen­tre on 035 9075000 for fur­ther as­sis­tance,’ said city spokesper­son, Mdu Ncalane.

Richard Springo­rum

Heita! A pedes­trian takes quick eva­sive ac­tion to avoid an un­wel­come shower courtesy of a pass­ing ve­hi­cle dur­ing yes­ter­day’s heavy show­ers in Em­pan­geni

Ge­orgie Ted­der

The driver found him­self stranded on the roof of his bakkie after at­tempt­ing to cross a low-ly­ing bridge in Amatikulu

The fa­tal crash scene near the Tugela Bridge on the N2

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