Ceremony remembers 2021 KZN flood victims 

By Celani Sikhakhane

The people of KwaZulu-Natal were reminded on Thursday of the pain caused by the deadly floods of 2021 at a commemoration for flood victims in Imbali township, Pietermaritzburg. 

It was organised by the KZN cooperative governance and traditional affairs department. 

Different churches and rescue teams, including those from private companies, took part in the ceremony. 

The 2021 floods killed at least 435 people with an unknown number still missing.

Several thousand homes were damaged or destroyed. 

Critical infrastructure – including major roads, transport, communication and electrical systems – was also severely damaged by the flooding.

The damage was estimated at about R17-billion.

Cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi said that April no longer brings joy but tears to communities affected by the floods. 

“As we are praying and commemorating the lives of those who died in April 2021, it is painful that since the beginning of the summer period … we lost 90 people in floods and heavy rain. Some people are still missing today. This is the nightmare that we are facing in our province,” she said. 

The commemoration was a solemn and sad affair and several people cried as they recalled their loved ones and family members who died.

Heavy rain regularly wreaks havoc in KwaZulu-Natal in summer and in December in particular. 

Seven members of one family in Ladysmith died after their car was swept away by floods on Christmas Eve last year. 

In Bergville, a family of three disappeared on 29 December after their vehicle capsized in a dam near the N11. Their bodies were found by road construction workers 10 days later. 

Church leaders at the commemoration called for the government to ensure that disaster victims are taken care of. 

The April 2021 disaster was the worst in KZN since the 1987 floods that killed more than 500 people and severely damaged infrastructure, including aqueducts bringing clean water. Some rural villages were destroyed and the floods opened several graves, leading to coffins floating through the streets of some Durban townships. 

Pictured above: Award-winning gospel star Hlengiwe Mhlaba brought joy to flood victims and their families during a moving performance at the commemoration of the disaster in Pietermaritzburg.

 Image source: Supplied

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