Storm wreaks havoc in midlands

2007-12-01 00:00

THURSDAY night’s storm wreaked havoc in the Pietermaritzburg and midlands areas resulting in deaths of animals and humans and extensive damage to property, leaving people homeless.

The Sweetwaters, Elandskop and Vulindlela areas were the worst hit, with two deaths. Fallen trees were reported to have temporarily blocked Mayor’s Walk and Sweetwaters Road.

Sweetwaters councillor Sibusiso Ntuli said that water was gushing in and out of people’s homes the whole night.

“Even my own home has been damaged, but my needs have been put aside to assist families who have extensive damage to their homes.

“A young child of 10 years was killed while crossing the Mabane River in the area.

“This is unfortunate as I have been speaking with the infrastructure department since October to try and erect a boulder structure near the homes built near rivers to prevent this sort of tragedy,” said Ntuli.

Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo and members of the disaster management team visited the homes of those affected by the storms and the home of a woman who was electrocuted by a fallen live wire in the Vulindlela area. Hlatshwayo said she was saddened by the incident and gave her condolences to the family affected.

The family of the dead woman, Nelisiwe Mtolo (33), said she sheltered from the storm in another house, and afterwards went back to her home, which had lost its roof, to inspect the damage.

She did not see a live electric cable lying on the ground, and stepped on it. Her body was found by her sister yesterday morning, said her brother, Desmond.

Msunduzi Municipality disaster manager John Gutridge said the disaster management unit is currently going out to places where there is reported damage to issue assistance in the form of food parcels, blankets and plastic roof sheets.

“Assisting families has been particularly difficult as we are still in the process of helping those who felt the effects of a wind storm last week on Monday. The added effects of the rain storm have left areas from Edendale to Vulindlela in a state of disrepair,” Gutridge said.

People are requested to stay alert as there are more storms predicted in the near future.

Ray de Vries Sport Solutions, on behalf of Allan France, chairman of the organisers of the ChemSpec 50-Miler race, have been warned that helmets might well be compulsory for paddlers.

“We have had to add this precautionary measure due to a massive storm that hit Pietermaritzburg last night, which has filled the uMsunduzi river to capacity, said De Vries.

As much as 110 cumecs of water is flowing in the river upstream from Inanda Dam and the finish area has been flooded.

Contact De Vries on 082 884 4881.

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