The N3 highway that connects Johannesburg and the biggest port in South Africa has been closed to southbound traffic due to severe flooding in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), reported BusinessTech.
“Bayhead Road which provides access to the port is completely closed due to heavy rains and flooding,” said Ravi Ronny, Sanral’s Eastern Region Design and Construction Manager.
“Engineers are on the ground assessing the situation and providing guidance on mobility around the network.”
“Some sections of the N3 are partially closed due to the upgrades and the floods have exacerbated the situation on the network.”
“We appeal to all motorists and especially freight transport not to leave their destinations to try and come to Durban Port. There is no access to the port. We are working with emergency services to get the road network reopened,” said Ronny.
Bridges on the N2 highway that flows along the Indian Ocean coastline have also been washed away, and at least 20 people may have been killed because of the flooding, according to eNCA.
Reports on social media show shipping containers floating in the water, stranded vehicles, landslides, flooded homes, and huge sections of road reduced to pieces.
The extreme weather conditions are “expected to continue today,” said KZN’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department. “This increases the risk of flooding getting worse in all these areas.”
Transnet is expected to issue a statement on the matter later on Tuesday.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Premier Sihle Zikalala and CoGTA MEC Sipho Hlomuka to immediately declare the province a state of disaster, reports News24.
The photo below by SA Weather Service shows the areas affected by the flood:
What’s causing the floods
The floods in KZN are mostly a result of the La Nina weather phenomenon experienced in South Africa this year, said Bloomberg.
This weather pattern causes above-average rainfall and saw many parts of the country receive heavy rains in January. In some areas, it was the highest rainfall since 1921, when tracking began.
The persistent showers lead to soil becoming oversaturated and drainage systems filling up.
With the water nowhere left to go, it could lead to flooding, which is what is now being seen in KZN.