Hundreds of patients have been evacuated from the Jane Furse Hospital in Limpopo, following a fierce hailstorm on Thursday night.
Officials had their work cut out for them relocating patients to nearby hospitals. No deaths or injuries have been reported. A total of nine new born babies were delivered during the disaster.
The Jane Furse Hospital has been severely affected by the hail storm that ravaged some parts of the Makhuduthamaga Municipality in Sekhukhune District.
All wards and administration blocks have been flooded.
Although no roofs have been blown away, some parts of the building were completely submerged in water, mud and hail.
The 18-year-old hospital has now been closed down. Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba visited the hospital to assess the damage. The damage has no yet been quantified but it’s expected to run into millions.
Ramathuba has expressed happiness that there has not been loss of life.
“I think what is critical for me was to make sure that everybody is safe in this facility. So we are happy to can confirm that not even a single staff member was injured. The firefighters from the municipality were here on time to rescue those who were trapped. Not even a single patient has been injured. The next step was to make sure that all our patients were evacuated because as you can see the hospital is non functional completely.”
Nine babies safely delivered
While the storm was wrecking havoc, nine babies were safely delivered. Ramathuba has praised midwives who worked under severe conditions.
She says the nine women, who were in labour could not be evacuated with other patients and the midwives improvised to perform deliveries as there was no electricity.
“Remember all these machines to monitor the foetal heartbeat were not functional because there was no electricity. When I asked the midwives how did you monitor the foetal heart progress because you can’t transfer the babies out there, it’s flooding. They told me they have gone to take a tissue paper and used that brown part of it to use it to assess the foetal heart, which they did and the babies were delivered alive. This is one story that honestly speaking from my heart I have seen the Florence Nightingale of today.”
All the mothers and babies have been discharged. Two of the women had this to say.
“I’m grateful to the nurses who worked hard to help us give birth. They should continue doing good for all of us and being patient,” says one mother.
Another one adds, “I’m so happy because the nurses showed us so much love and kindness. They even gave my baby the name “hailstorm.”
In another incident, an elderly woman and two children were injured and some houses damaged during the storm. Communities of Phokwane, Muripani and Mapayeng sections are the most affected.
Spokesperson for the Makhuduthamaga municipality, Lemson Moropjane says the injured have been taken to hospital.
“We are getting reports from last might that two children had been injured and a granny in an area called Mapayeng and those injured has been taken to hospital, it was very difficult for our team in Makhuduthamaga municipality jointly with the district team to continue with the mock operation because of lack of visibility and electricity was also cut off and roads are impassable.”
Meanwhile, mopping up operations have already started at the hospital.