Storms leave hundreds homeless in Vulamehlo

2011-12-02 00:00

VULAMEHLO Mayor Thabani Dube and his fellow councillors visited wards in the municipality to assess the storm damage caused by recent heavy rains and winds.

Amid unconfirmed reports that four people have lost their lives in the severe storms, municipal spokesperson Zime Gcaba confirmed that an elderly woman was killed during the bad weather.

“The 75-year-old woman was killed after a house collapsed on her,” Gcaba said

“As we went through the community each family had a story to tell and it just keeps getting worse and sadder,” he added.

Over 300 houses were washed away and many residents were injured.

A middle-aged woman was struck by lightning inside her house and is recovering from the effects.

“The water was entering her house and flooding the room, said Gcaba.

“She was trying to get her furniture to another room when she was struck.”

He said the woman only remembers seeing a flash of light and passing out. She told Gcaba that after losing their homes up to eight family members were sheltering in a small room.

Most of the residents in the area are elderly pensioners and young children.

Gcaba said the municipality has yet to decide whether Vulamehlo should be declared a disaster area.

The roads in the area are also quite badly damaged, but community members have been hit hardest.

“The people have been left totally destitute. They have lost everything — their furniture, their homes, their clothing and their food.”

Vulamehlo and Umdoni municipalities — both of which are parts of Scottburgh — have provided the families with food parcels, tents, foam mattresses and blankets.

“A disaster team has been set up to assess the immediate needs of the community and to see how best we can assist them.

“We are also looking into long-term solutions,” Gcaba said.

• witness@feveronline.co.za

Vulamehlo relief number

Anyone wanting to assist with the disaster relief of

Vulamehlo can contact the disaster officer, Sbongiseni Dube, on 079 917 2175

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