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27 July 2011

People evacuated as rivers flood near Ladysmith (KZN)

A persistent heavy downpour has led to hundreds of people being evacuated from their homes in Ezakheni, near Ladysmith.

Heavy rainfall yesterday caused several rivers in that area to break their banks. The Red Cross' Derek Naidoo says, as a result, more than 320 people living near river banks were forced to leave their homes in the early hours of the morning as they feared the area would flood.

Naidoo says they are providing assistance to community members who are being housed in a church hall.

"Red Cross is setting up a mobile soup kitchen, we're giving them blankets and clothing as well," he said.

Communities near the provincial border with the Eastern Cape are also still affected. Naidoo has advised residents against going outdoors during the extreme weather conditions, saying they are working on a plan to provide door-to-door assistance.

"We are also encouraging people not to drive or to leave their homes if it's not safe to do so, because they are imposing in terms of getting stranded and then needing support - not only from the Red Cross but from the disaster management officials. Please stay indoors until the weather subsides - so it reduces the [strain on] the relief effort."

Meanwhile, eThekwini Municipality has called on East Coasters to donate old clothing and non-perishable food items to assist victims of future natural disasters in Durban. The goods can be dropped off at City Hall during business hours - they'll be stored at the Municipal Disaster Management centre for distribution in case of disaster.

- East Coast Radio: Durban