RESIDENTS in and around Pinetown areas have had to endure sewage flowing on to their properties and the stench emanating from the Umbilo River after the April floods.
The floods led to many sewerage pipes bursting. Many residents reported that they have become prisoners in their own homes as the smell is unbearable. “We have to close our windows all around the house, and we will not go outside,” said one of the affected residents.
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One of the families in Winston Churchill Drive, whose backyard is filled with sewage, as the river runs at the bottom of their property, said due to the heavy rains, four meters of their yard and all of the fence at the back went down the river.
“That night was a traumatic experience, as within an hour, the water filled up to two meters high in the house,” said house owner Clive van der Merwe.
He said the water started filling up the entertainment room, then the garden and the swimming pool. “Within minutes, our house was flooded. If we experience heavy rains again, the entertainment area will go down the river, ”he said.
According to the residents, when the water started filling their house, they had to act quickly and remove the cats and important documents while making sure their children were safe and sound.
“It wasn’t an easy task rescuing the six cats as they were afraid – they were screaming and scratching, but luckily, we got them out just in time,” added his wife, Luan.
ALSO READ: Community picking up the pieces after floods
“We were forced to leave the house, and we drove straight to my sister’s house in Gillitts for safety,” he said.
Luckily for the family, they are insured, but they lost sentimental items which cannot be replaced.
Returning to their home the following day, the couple said they were heartbroken at the destruction they witnessed.
“It was so devastating to see years of hard work go down the drain in just hours, but we are thankful to be alive and to be able to restore our home,” said Van der Merwe.
Visiting the Van der Merwes’ house, the Highway Mail found some of the clothes piled up in one of the rooms and people working around the house to repair the home.
The back of their yard is an eyesore – the river is filled with debris and broken pipes with sewage running along it.
The biggest issue the residents said they are now facing is the sewage. “It gets worse in the afternoons when everyone is back home. This cannot be healthy. The water running from here – where does it end up? ” asked the concerned residents.
All the residents are asking for is for the municipality to fix the sewerage pipe.
“Even the main lines are broken. We understand that this is huge work to be done, but at least they could just show interest and give us some kind of feedback and direction. We can’t live like this, ”he said.
ALSO READ: No material to fix burst pipes – claims DA
eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela said the city is aware of sewerage pipe bursts reported and other serious infrastructure damaged during the recent heavy rain.
“Assessments of the extent of the damage continue, and the City has undertaken, through co-operative governance, to effect double efforts to repair infrastructure.
“We have teams dispatched daily to attend to all matters reported to us; this includes the reports of sewerage pipe bursts, ”said Mayisela.
He appealed the public to be patient.
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