Lightning, floods in KZN claim 54 lives

2013-02-14 00:00

FIFTY-FOUR people had died since October last year due to bad weather in KwaZulu-Natal, said a spokesperson for the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta), Lennox Mabaso.

A 50-year-old woman from Nquthu, Mildred Ngcobo, burnt to death in her rondavel after it was hit by lightning and caught fire on Tuesday afternoon.

A woman in Msinga, Maphungula Malinga, was struck by lightning on Sunday night.

Mabaso said the 54 fatalaties since October were due to lightning, flooding and drowning in various parts of the province.

“eThekwini recorded 15 deaths, Umzinyathi seven, Amajuba six, uMgungundlovu six, Ugu five, uThungulu five, Ilembe four and uThukela four, among the 11 districts,” he said.

A total of 1 382 houses have been totally destroyed and 38 146 people have been affected.

Yesterday, Msinga residents were salvaging what was left after the area was struck by a flash flood on Monday night.

Mabaso told The Witness that a K9 search and rescue team, with the help of the community, found the bodies of two of the six people who were reported missing on the night.

The bodies were found about 30 km away from their homes.

Lieutenant Jack Haskins of the K9 search and rescue unit said their search for the other missing people was likely to yield results as soon as the water level dropped.

The damage is estimated to be worth millions of rands.

Several families whose homes were washed away had been moved to temporary housing, Cogta said.

They were provided with hot meals and medical attention, and arrangements were being made to build houses for them on higher ground.

The department has also issued lightning conductors, which are to be erected in areas of high danger.

The department is also calling on neighbouring communities to pool their resources to buy lightning rods.

The rods are said to protect an area of 500 square metres.

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