Three children drown amid heavy downpours
HEAVY downpours across the province have led to three children drowning while trying to cross a river on their way back from school in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The bodies of Nontethelelo Mcanyana, 18, Sinikiwe Mpanza, 17 and Zenande Gumede, 14, were recovered from the Matimofu River yesterday, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said.
They had been returning home from Ndlongolwane High School in the rural area of uMlalazi.
On Tuesday, the department issued a warning for heavy rains which were feared to cause flash floods.
MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said disaster management teams were on alert across the province as rains potentially posed serious risk to motorists and pedestrians.
She said municipalities had been instructed to be on standby with emergency shelters should the need arise.
“KZN has suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters, with houses swept away and lives lost when heavy rains devastated eThekwini last October,” she said.
The families of the trio were receiving support.
“In light of this tragedy, we are urging residents of the affected regions to stay away from all rivers and streams in their vicinity where localised flooding could occur.
“We are also warning motorists to drive carefully and avoid low-lying bridges in areas that are susceptible to flooding,” added Dube-Ncube.
The most affected areas were the King Cetshwayo, uMkhanyakude, and Zululand districts.
Department of Education spokesperson Sicelo Khuzwayo expressed condolences to the family of the schoolchildren, as well as to their classmates and teachers.
SA Weather Services forecaster Ayanda Ntsele said the heavy rain would abate today with only a 30% chance of rain forecast for most parts of the province.
However, the overcast conditions will persist with sunny weather only expected from Saturday.
Rainfall measurements showed that while there were heavy rain warnings, including for Durban, 12.6mm of rain fell in Durban, while the northern KZN town of Richards Bay received 146.8mm. – Mercury Reporter
Durban residents rush to get out of the rain at the busy Warwick Junction yesterday. The South African Weather Service says while the weather would remain gloomy, there was only a 30% chance of rain predicted for today.