Storm wreaks havoc in Durban

Durban is currently experiencing severe thunderstorms. Heavy downpours, hail and gale force winds which have flooded roads and damaged buildings. 

Update 5:The KZN department of health has confirmed that the storm has “caused enormous damage to healthcare institutions in and around eThekwini district” with at least 12 state hospitals and clinics affected.

The department said two patients were also fatally wounded and two more patients sustained serious injuries after a wall collapsed at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital.

Update 4: Parts of the roof at the King Edward VIII Hospital in Umbilo, Durban, were reportedly blown away in heavy wind earlier on Tuesday, leaving parts of the hospital exposed to wind, cold and rain. An eyewitness told The Daily Vox that surgical theatres and wards, including the intensive care unit, had been flooded and equipment has been damaged.

“Patients were sitting in passages in the dark – [the] hospital basically came to a standstill. Theatre was non-functional; no emergency surgery even. Everyone was just trying to help out to move patients and equipment. Thankfully, the casualty/trauma unit and ICU were still functional. An emergency theatre was set up in the casualty department,” said the person, who asked not to be named because they were not authourised to speak on the matter.

Provincial health spokesperson Samuel Mkhwanazi told The Daily Vox: “Management is doing whatever they can because it’s not the whole hospital that has been affected; its certain areas.” Mkhwanazi said patients had been moved from parts of the hospital that had been affected to areas that had been escaped damage.

KZN MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo will be visiting several hospitals affected by the storm, including King Edward VIII Hospital, Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital and Wentworth Provincial Hospital, on Wednesday to assess the damage.

Update 3:  The scale of the magnitude of the storm is being assessed and calls are still streaming in, deputy mayor of Durban Fawzia Peer told The Daily Vox.

So far, Peer said, “the wall outside the hospital that accommodates street dwellers and taxis has collapsed on the private vehicles, the taxis and hawkers trading area”. No fatalities have been reported yet, the search and rescue team is on the scene.

The city will provide shelter and relief in community halls to all those who have been displaced.

Update 2: Glenwood resident Shaun Mills said the storm is the worst in 15 years and has done much damage to infrastructure. Mills said a lot of people are going to suffer from this storm.


Update 1: Dipuo Tawana, a forecaster with the South African Weather Service, told The Daily Vox that the rain is expected to continue for at least the next few hours. “From around 3 and 4 o’clock we expect the rain to start moderating and later overnight we expect the rain storm to clear in that area,” she said. Tawana said the weather service has issued a flash flood warning.

Parts of the N2 near Isipingo were flooded, leaving commuters stranded in dangerous circumstances.

Footage of cars being washed away in waist high water have flooded social media.

An eNCA viewer sent reporter Cathy Mohlahlana a disturbing clip of people screaming in panic as they watch cars, with the occupants still inside, being washed away.

In the Durban CBD, roads and pavements have flooded, drains are overflowing and traders have lost their stalls and goods.

Traders told The Daily Vox a woman was rushed to hospital after her stall collapsed on top of her in heavy winds.

The Higginson Highway has reportedly been closed.

The Ethekwini Municipality has warned residents to stay indoors until the storm is over. According to the municipality, the wind speeds have been measured at 70km/h.

Residents have been asked to contact the Disaster Management Call Centre on 031 361 0000 in case of emergencies. The centre has been swamped with calls.

This is a developing story.

– Featured image via Bluff Community WhatsApp group