Many of the families that have been left devastated by Tuesday’s heavy storms in the Harry Gwala District Municipality, in southern KwaZulu-Natal, say they have lost all their Christmas supplies.
Disaster management teams on the ground estimate that close to 300 houses have been damaged by the storm. Electricity lines have also been damaged.
Residents of KwaMeyi at uMzimkhulu in southern KwaZulu-Natal are trying to rebuild their houses after they were damaged by heavy rains coupled with hail and strong winds on Tuesday.
Several houses had their roofs blown off in areas like KwaDladla, Mahhedle and Ncakubana in the Ubuhlebezwe Municipality.
Pieces of corrugated iron lie scattered across the area. Resident Thandekile Ngcongo explains what happened when the storm hit.
“It suddenly started lightening, this storm just came from nowhere and big hail rocks started falling that hit our houses, shattering our windows all over the floors. Water started coming in also. So many houses and families have been left destitute on this area. In one house children had to hide under the bed because no one was home at the time as most people were out Christmas shopping. Every family is saddened by this.”
Another storm victim, 65-year-old Ntobeko Lukhozi, says the roof of his newly-built, seven-room house, was blown away in the blink of an eye.
“So much damage was caused by the powerful storm. The hail that was coupled with the rain and thundershowers scared us. It was all so sudden. The storm started and by the time we knew it the parts of the roof were falling on us in the house, most of it was getting blown away by the wind.
“We were left just standing the house and getting rained on. My new furniture that arrived the day before yesterday and I hadn’t even started using it was damaged by the rain. I don’t know what I’m going to do but I am grateful that we came out alive,” Lukhozi explained.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka, is urging businesses to assist the affected families.
“Out of 304 households that have been affected, 33 of those households they are homeless. Hence we are identifying Halls and churches that we are going to accommodate those people who are homeless. We are providing those homeless families with a temporary intervention. We are providing food parcels, clothes, and other things.”
Disaster teams remain on high alert in the area. -Additional reporting by Simphiwe Makhanya