VISNEWS film shows the damage in Natal, Union of South Africa after the GBP1,000,000 flood disaster in which at least 60 people died.
VISNEWS film shows the damage in Natal, Union of South Africa after the GBP1,000,000 flood disaster in which at least 60 people died. The area filmed lies a short distance south of Durban, and is the most affected, with isolated towns and villages, destroyed roads and bridges, flooded homes, trapped motorists and food shortage.
The floods followed 14 inches of rain in a couple of days. The normal winter-time rainfall is much less. Rivers burst their banks and floodwater covered the area with a debt of up to 20 feet.
Tragic tales of sudden death reached the outside world over the battered communication system. In one village a group of 14 Indians was swept away by the water, in another community an African and his four children drowned, elsewhere motorists were trapped in their cars and drowned in the rising water, and at Umsumbe two Europeans drowned while trying to rescue a native in floodwaters.
Bread was rationed, and other food hard to come by in the affected area. Home-made rafts and small boats are used to keep up the communication system in the area, out engineers are already moving in to repair the damage as soon as the land falls dry again. From Cape Town the African Prime Minister Dr.H.Verword announced that the Army is sending aircraft, helicopters and lorries into Natal, bringing food and medical supplies. Queen Elizabeth has sent a special message to the stricken people, expressing her distress over the disaster. Relief funds have been started both in South Africa and elsewhere.
The floods have wrought a change in direction of the Umkomaas River, which has reverted to its former bed. Engineers were brought up to investigate.