Heavy downpours and strong winds have left a trail of destruction in a number of households in Botshabelo in the Free State. Some residents of Ward 32 say they don’t know where they will get help after their houses and shacks were gutted by strong winds.

Schooling has been disrupted after heavy rains and strong winds gutted shacks and blew off the roof at local schools. A local library stopped operating because its infrastructures, including computers, were also damaged.

Some residents have started to rebuild their lives following heavy rainfall and storms that left their roofs blown away and their houses and shacks collapsed.

Municipal infrastructure which includes electrical poles were destroyed living residents without electricity.

Resident Phiwe Dibinkonzo says they are still shaken. “We are saddened by what happened last night. We have kids here. It was a mess yesterday when it happened. No one anticipated that such a thing could happen. We did not see anything coming. We thought its rain, but everything is going to be ruined. So, we are really sad about what happened. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. We don’t know. We are going to fix the roof. We don’t know where we are going to get help.”

Another resident Lefa Madidilane says his family is left with nothing.

“We are left with nothing. My house collapsed and the winds blew away my store. We have survived death because we had to take cover with children when there were strong winds and heavy rainfall.”

Elsie Mbekwa says her property is damaged.

“We saw the roof moving and flying and passing in the house. We didn’t know where to go. It was raining. Outside, it was wind and heavy storms. Yes, Ntate, our couches are damaged and we don’t have money to replace the couches because my father is a pensioner and I am the breadwinner in the house. I don’t know what to do.”

ANC Ward Councillor Mamopa Mohloki, who visited a number of affected families, says they are assessing the situation.

“What we are doing now is an assessment and after assessment, our disaster management will move in to assist affected residents. The strong winds have left a trail of destruction in many houses. Pensioners are also affected,”

The Mangaung Metro says work is underway to restore electricity. Spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, says, “One of the things that we are trying to do is to strengthen our disaster management. Currently, we have suffered a lot. In terms of our road infrastructure, electricity infrastructure, we also have a problem, but we have started restoring electricity in those areas where there is no electricity at all, but also making sure that we open storm-water channels so that people can drive and walk.”

Khedama says their disaster management team is one standby for any eventualities as more rain is expected.