Between 28 and 30 September, the central and southern part of Natal were ravaged by floods that were amongst the most devastating to have occurred in South Africa. The destruction of property was catastrophic, nearly 400 people died and about 50 000 were left homeless. Damage to agriculture, communications, infrastructure and property amounted to R400 million (report: De Villiers et al, 1994).
The Mgeni and Mvoti rivers had flood duration periods of up to 24 hours and this caused dramatic erosion. In the Mgeni the island near the mouth was totally removed and scour of generally about 2m took place. In the Mvoti the river channel, normally 35m, widened to about 900m. Large quantities of sediment were deposited over the flood plain. Many bridges were washed away. The greatest disruption to humans was caused by the destruction of the Mdloti and Tugela river bridges on the N2 highway (report: Badenhorst et al. 1989).
A letter to Aitch from Lyn from their game farm at Hella Hella in the Umkomaas river valley:
Top picture is actually of the Umgeni river. We went with the 4X4 people to help ferry stranded people across to their homes or back from their homes so they could go to town. Corran Addison in pic. On my one trip I had a person plus a bag of mealie meal on the deck of my kayak.
The Umgeni at Blue Lagoon:
We got married on Lyn & Barry’s farm in the Umkomaas valley the following February and the effects of the flood were still being felt.