Time for ubuntu after hail hits Ladysmith area

2012-12-11 00:00

MORE than 500 families were displaced after a violent hailstorm damaged their homes in the Ladysmith area on Sunday.

Windows were shattered, asbestos roofs left with huge holes and vehicles suffered massive damage.

The affected areas were Acaciaville, Steadville, Tsakane and Model Kloof.

Residents said the hailstones were bigger than golf balls. No serious casualties were reported.

The displaced families were transferred to local community halls by Uthukela disaster management.

Acaciaville resident Beenmathie Beechu said she was about to burn a mosquito coil when she heard the first loud bang on the roof.

“As I was about to [go out to] investigate when suddenly the noise became worse and the next thing, my ceiling collapsed. Then I saw the darkness outside through the gaping holes in the roof.

“I just didn’t know what to do until some people led us to the local community hall,” said Beechu.

Fariyaal Fyzoo, a nurse at the Ladysmith Provincial Hospital, said both her cars had the windshields smashed, in addition to the damage to her house.

“I was making salad in the kitchen when I heard a bang on the window. I thought it was just an ordinary storm and that it would quickly pass.

“Suddenly there was a succession of loud bangs and I realised that this was serious. I rushed for my four-year-old child to protect her from the imminent danger. Now here I am, stuck in the house, [unable to go] to work and only hoping that the insurance will be quick to come and do repairs,” she said.

Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube and her disaster management personnel went to the area to assess the damage yesterday.

“While we know that the damage cannot be attended to overnight, we are here to make some intervention in the form of first line support.

“We will make detailed assessments so that we can take stock of the magnitude of the damage,” Dube told hundreds of residents gathered at the Acacia hall.

She urged insurance companies to process claims speedily so people can spend Christmas in their own homes.

“Indeed this was an intense storm, judging by the amount of damage sustained.

“We need everyone in the spirit of ubuntu to make a contribution. It’s time for humanity to unite,” said Dube.

The Estcourt-based Al-Imdaad Foundation, the SANDF, Red Cross and Gift of the Givers provided meals, tents, blankets, mattresses and other basic needs for the displaced families.

And to make things worse, another violent storm flooded some damaged homes late yesterday afternoon.

Abed Karrim of the Al-Imdaad Foundation said: “It has been raining hard since 5 pm.

“The plastic sheeting we provided to affected residents to seal their roofs has been blown away. The houses are being flooded.”

The Weather Bureau has predicted more rain, possibly heavy, across KZN today.

It will be partly cloudy with possible showers for the rest of the week.

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