Storm leaves 2?000 homeless

2009-11-10 00:00

FLATTENED houses and uprooted trees were amid the scenes of the utter devastation suffered by the Bulwer community on Friday, after a freak hailstorm had battered the area.

By yesterday afternoon, the dazed community in the ward 9 areas was still counting its losses and waiting for the emergency help promised by MECs who visited the area yesterday.

The hungry were eating bread and soup provided by the Shoprite mobile soup kitchen.

It is estimated that at least 2 000 people were displaced as the storm destroyed at least a 182 homes, injuring 56 people and killing one person.

The flattened houses were replaced with green camping tents in which the people will live until the government departments assist in rebuilding their homes.

Although it was mostly the mud houses that suffered the brunt of the destruction, the brick houses also sustained a lot of damage.

A nearby school in the Nkwezela area lost a roof over one of its classes and in the Donnybrook area, the storm flattened a row of houses.

The affected people were also concerned about the help that was promised by the MECs on Sunday, which has not yet arrived.

“They said they will bring all the necessary help, such as food and blankets, by today [yesterday], but they have not yet arrived,” said Busisiwe Phoswa, one of the affected people.

During the storm, Phoswa lost her main house and an outside three bedroom house.

All she is left with is a rondavel which she has to share with her 15 family members — 10 children and five adults.

“That rondavel is all we have left.

“The 15 of us — men, women and children — sleep there because we have no other choice.”

She said she does not know how longer they will continue to use the one room.

“My main house’s walls are cracked, and I will need to fix it before I can even put back the roofing.”

Sizwe Sibiya, manager of the Shoprite mobile soup kitchen, said they brought two mobile kitchens to the area with ready-made soup and bread to feed those who are hungry.

“Many people say that when the storm hit, it buried everything, including food, so we are helping.”

He said they have fed more than 700 people in the Nkwezela area.

Vernon Mchunu, spokesman and member of the task team set up by the Local Government Department, said that while mopping-up operations continue in the area, the displaced families have been housed at the newly built local high school.

He said the department has facilitated the provision of blankets and food parcels by the Social Development Department and more food will be supplied today.

The destroyed houses will be rebuilt by the Human Settlements Department, he said.

Ebrahim Ally of the Gift of the Givers said yesterday that the charity organisation has donated 1 000 blankets, 400 food parcels, 50 tents, pots, clothes and shoes — valued at a total of R500 000 — to the victims.

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