Old sand dunes one reason of Umdloti damage – expert

Old sand dunes one reason of Umdloti damage – expert

An expert on coastal geology and floods has been explaining why some coastal areas such as Umdloti were severely affected by this weekend's storm. 

KZN floods Old sand dunes one reason of Umdloti damage – expert
Facebook: eThekwini Municipality

Flood-ravaged KZN was punished again when torrential rains battered the province. 

Images from eThekwini show roads submerged or broken in the city and the terrifying impact of the storm in Umdloti on the north coast. 

A portion of a block of flats and its foundation collapsed. 

READ: Hundreds of evacuations as storms lash KZN

Professor Andrew Green, who a Geology lecturer at UKZN, says low coast profiles such as the ones in Umdloti and Ballito can experience severe damage. 

He says some coastal properties were built on old sand dunes. 

"That sand has a high clay component which makes it prone to slippage. So you can imagine clay almost in a way acts like a lubricant for things to move, so if you have lots of clay and you get that wet, it's exactly what you are experiencing. 

“You set up a situation where those dunes, are being well saturated. The rains are doing what we call pre-conditioning. They set up those slopes to fail, by fail that's where we get the slide and land slides" 

ALSO READ: Govt on high alert as heavy rains hit KZN again

On the severity of the storm, Green's highlighted climate change and human activities as contributing factors. 

"We need to, in future, be more rigorous about where we are build, I think in South Africa that take a back leap which regards just how cautious people are because money changes hands, the environmental impact assessment done, perhaps done through a bunch of friends. 

“This does happen and the kickback associated and we end up adding to that problem a little bit more so than necessary." 


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