By Krishnee Naidoo

An Isipingo mother and her two children will be united in death after an intense search by SAPS Search and Rescue Team, led to the recovery of their three bodies, days after they were swept away during the flash flood that ravaged Durban on Tuesday.

The Maphumulo family of Inwabi Road in Isipingo Rail were seeking safety and refuge from the savage storm when the mother and two children were washed away by the raging waters.
The bodies of the two toddlers aged 18 months and three years were found in Prospecton on Thursday, whilst the body of the mother was found lodged amongst the debris at the grounds of a church premises on Thie Road on Friday.

Left: Durban Mayor Zandile Gumede, Minister Des van Rooyen and Cllr Sunil Brijmohan visit the bereaved Maphumulo family on Inwabi Road Above: SAPS Search and Rescue and police units retrieve the body of the Inwabi Road mom who drowned with her two children

On Friday, National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des Van Rooyen together with Durban Mayor Cllr Zandile Gumede and local Councillor Sunil Brijmohan visited the bereaved family hours before the body of the mom could be located.

“Isipingo had been declared a disaster area following the visit of Mayor Gumede and Minister Van Rooyen. Additional resources will be brought in to assist residents. I have contacted the relevant departments and residents who will be assisted to clean up yards if heavy debris needs to be moved. We have now seven confirmed deaths and Isipingo is a town in mourning. A dark cloud of grief hovers over this humble town, together as a community we mourn the loss of lives and destruction of our beloved town,” said Cllr Brijmohan.

“Regarding the devastating losses suffered by the Maphumulo family, only God knows their grief and pain at this time. It is heartbreaking to fathom what this family and those who have lost loved ones in the flood are experiencing currently. We must unite as a community to overcome this epic disaster,” said Cllr Brijmohan. According to Isipingo SAPS communications officer, Cpt D Ragavan, it has been a sombre few days since the floods with four bodies recovered hours after the storm ripped through Isipingo.

“On Tuesday at 12:30pm, the body of a man believed to be in his 50s was found inside his Isuzu bakkie at the corner of Thie and Old Main Road in Isipingo. The deceased had drowned through the flooding. In a second recovery, police were called out to Clark Road at 2pm where the body of a 40-year-old woman was found. Death by drowning well,” said Cpt Ragavan.

He added, “The body of a four-year-old child was found on Old Main Road whilst the body of a 27-year-old woman was found on Mahes Road.

Cpt Ragavan said inquest cases are being investigated.

Isipingo Business Forum (IBF) chairman, Junaid Iqbal, said businesses in the Isipingo CBD were hard hit. “The storm wreaked havoc in Isipingo on Tuesday. Too many lives were lost and properties severely damaged. Added to the disaster, were power and water cuts including broken telephone lines. Shops were also looted. IBF sympathises with all members of the public who have lost loved ones in the flood. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. May the Almighty give all those affected by the flood courage to overcome their losses,” said Iqbal.

Alpha Alarms spokesman Seshin Govender said, “Alpha Alarms Control Room was bombarded by a barrage of calls for assistance by residents and business owners. Shops and abandoned homes were looted by marauding criminals who grabbed items to resell and trade as scrap whilst the owners and occupants sought safe haven during the horrific floods. The losses incurred by community members are sky-high. Police and security companies strived to maintain calm in a strife torn Isipingo.”