NCoast storm’s human toll

2012-11-01 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal north coast area was hit by a storm that started with fierce winds and heavy downpours on Monday night and continued on Tuesday and into yesterday. However, the weather bureau is not expecting the weather to worsen in the coming days.

South-westerly gale-force winds, with speeds of between 60 and 80km/h, were recorded over parts of KZN on Tuesday night and into the early hours of yesterday morning.

The storm tore through the South Coast and Durban on Tuesday evening and yesterday before moving north through Empangeni and Richards Bay.

“Major devastation” was reported in Nkandla, where local authorities said a 25-year-old man was killed by lightning on Monday evening as he was walking home.

Nkandla municipal officials said 39 families were affected by the heavy rains. Ward 10 was particularly hard hit, as families were left destitute when the roofs were blown off their houses.

Director of community services, Mduduzi Mchunu, said the municipality has assisted where it could.

“During the initial physical assessment, there were a total of 39 families affected. Amongst these, 10 were severely distressed, that is with no shelter at all.

“They were accommodated by neighbouring communities the previous night,” he said.

Mchunu said the municipality has assisted with temporary shelter in the form of tents for the severely affected families. The uThungulu District Municipality Disaster Management Component had also pitched in to help.

“Any further assistance will be appreciated, including food parcels for the severely affected.”

He said supermarkets and a building material supplier had assisted.

In the Mtubatuba area, two boys, Thobelani Gumede (14) and Muzi Nsibande (10), drowned while trying to cross the iMfolozi river in the Nkonjane area during the heavy rains.

The safety and disaster officer at the Mtubatuba Municipality said the boys tried to cross the river to get sugarcane, but were swept away. Their bodies were found two kilometres from where they entered the river.

Eight houses were damaged in the area and the storm also hit Thonjaneni and Umlalazi on Tuesday night. Up to 70mm of rain was reported in parts. No serious damage and no accidents were reported, except damage caused by fallen trees.

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