Rural people lose everything

2009-01-04 00:00

THE devastation of Saturday’s storm was felt throughout KwaZulu-Natal and those affected were yesterday counting the cost and hard at work trying to put their houses in order in case another storm hits.

Some homes in the KwaXimba community close to Cato Ridge were totally washed away, while some were left just empty shells with only the walls standing.

Families wandered around their plots trying to salvage the little they could from the pools of mud, while others appeared too defeated to bother.

Nokuthula Mzolo said the weather took a turn for the worse at about 7.30 pm on Saturday night. This was soon followed by threatening lighting and strong winds — and within minutes, they were homeless.

“By eight o’clock it was as if nothing ever happened. I lost everything, from electrical appliances to beds and clothing,” said a devastated Mzolo.

She said she had at least R500 in the house that was buried in the mud, but all that could be salvaged was a sack of onions.

“I don’t even know where to begin and who would rescue us from this,” she said.

She added that this month will be especially hard as the children have to go back to school later in the month and their uniforms were damaged in the storm.

Her husband is the sole breadwinner for the family of 10.

One of her neighbours, Mbuko Magujwa, complained that he has no food left to feed his children as all his monthly groceries are “as good as dirt, after being eaten up by the heavy waters”.

The Ngubane family, some blocks away, also suffered the same fate. All their worldly possessions were damaged in the storm.

Home-owner Elphas Ngubane said he will now have to buy poles, planks and galvanised iron in order to rebuild his roof, which will cost him thousands of rands.

“It is not looking very good. It is very hard,” was all Ngubane could say.

Premier Sbu Ndebele visited some of the areas affected in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas to assess the damage, as well as offer support.

The premier’s spokesman, Logan Maistry, said Ndebele has called on the Health Department, doctors and hospital personnel to provide as much assistance as possible to the injured.

“The premier has assured residents that government will render whatever assistance is required.

The provincial government is on full alert to ensure a co-ordinated response towards relief efforts, in conjunction with all affected districts and local municipalities,” he said.

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