Three chil­dren drown amid heavy down­pours

The Mercury - - NEWS -

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

PIC­TURE: GCINA NDWALANE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

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.

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