Flood-hit family hoping for help before school starts

2013-01-08 00:00

A FAMILY of five slept in the open on Sunday night after their mud house was damaged by the violent storm that hit Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas that afternoon.

Yesterday, Christopher Dladla and his wife, Fikile, of Thembalihle, near Eastwood, picked up the pieces of what was left of their home while their children played in the yard.

“There’s nothing we can do. We’ll have to sleep outside today again. We can’t leave what is left of our furniture because we’re afraid it will be stolen,” said Dladla.

What used to be a bedroom was littered with mud and rocks.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. I’m used to seeing disasters on TV, but I didn’t know that Pietermaritzburg was no longer a safe place to live in,” said the distraught Dladla.

“We almost died with the kids. The worst thing is, while we were trying to get out, the door was stuck. We had to kick it out. I didn’t think we’d make it out alive.”

He said the water was waist-high.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Fikile, who has been living in the house for over 17 years.

The Dladlas were waiting for their councillor or a municipal official to inspect the damage.

Councillor Eunice Majola said she had visited the settlement on Sunday night and had assessed the damage.

Fikile, folding her youngest son’s school shirt, said she hoped they would be helped before schools reopen next week.

Yesterday she made a fire in the open to cook a meal.

Dladla, who has been on the waiting list for a low-cost house since 1997, said his main concern was rebuilding the house.

Gift of the Givers manager for the KwaZulu-Natal branch, Salim Sayed, said the organisation would be offering affected families plastic sheets for roofing, blankets, clothing and food.

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