Heavy thunderstorms wreak havoc in Nkomazi

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The provincial government has assured that examinations will not be disrupted by the damage done to schools. Photo: Sourced
The provincial government has assured that examinations will not be disrupted by the damage done to schools. Photo: Sourced

NEWS


Residents of Mpumalanga’s Nkomazi area, which is prone to severe summer thunderstorms, can breathe a sigh of relief that the rain is leaving the country.

According to the SA Weather Service (SAWS), the province should not expect any significant rain in the next few days.

On the weekend, heavy rain and thunderstorms wreaked havoc in 12 villages in Nkomazi Local Municipality, where more than 200 houses and 13 schools were damaged. Roofs were blown off, and in some residences walls fell on people. Twelve people were injured, including a four-year-old who is fighting for his life in hospital.

Heavy thunderstorms left damage in more than 200 h
Heavy thunderstorms left damage in more than 200 households and 13 schools in Nkomazi Local Municipality near Malalane on the weekend. Photo: Sourced

“That area, including parts of Swaziland, is prone to severe thunderstorms because of the influence of the escarpment. In fact, it is the whole of the Lowveld that is prone because when winds move from the Highveld they tend to cause thunderstorms in the Lowveld,” said SAWS forecaster Tokelo Chiloane.

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She said there would be a 30% chance of showers until Thursday, while Friday would see a 60% chance of showers in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

“The rain is leaving the country tomorrow [Tuesday], so nothing significant may hit the Nkomazi area,” Chiloane said.

Nkomazi Local Municipality spokesperson Cyril Ripinga said the affected families had been provided with temporary shelter, but some of them preferred to stay with relatives.

The damage, Ripinga said, had not yet been quantified.

He said:

We gave the families immediate relief such as temporary shelter, blankets, sponges, gel stoves and food parcels.


Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Lindiwe Msibi said the provincial government was still assessing the damage.

She assured that despite a number of schools being damaged by the thunderstorms, the end-of-the-year examinations would not be affected.

Msibi said the school that suffered the most damage was Sidlamafa Secondary School in KaMhlushwa because it had temporary classrooms.

Nkomazi resident Ntombifuthi Masango said she was lucky to be alive after her house collapsed on her family, injuring herself, her husband and three children.

She told the SABC: “My husband is seriously injured. Fortunately, we are still alive. Yes, we lost everything, but we are grateful that our children are safe.”

Khelina Mvubu said her family was left without food.

“The children were injured and one of them is in the intensive care unit. My daughter-in-law is also injured. We were left without food and clothing.”


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