“WE were sitting in our bedroom and saw it coming!”
New Hanover farmer Rick Nidd narrowly missed the eye of Tuesday’s tornado that cut a destructive swathe through the area before moving towards Dalton.
The Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department said scores of people were injured and infrastructure, including an electricity substation, was damaged.
“It was scary. I said to [my wife] Thora, the Americans have bunkers for these things. If it hits us, we are gone. Thankfully just before the tornado reached us it veered off to the left. There was huge rain and hail but thankfully we are still here.
“It has caused big damage, trees and poles are down. The storm went right over the local substation so I suppose that we will be in the dark for a week or two.”
Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka said disaster management teams were dispatched to Thokozani and Mpolweni in New Hanover. “Preliminary reports received by the department indicate that a number of people who sustained injuries in the incident are receiving medical attention from surrounding hospitals ...” said Hlomuka.
There are fears of possible missing people and possible deaths.
Hlomuka has urged residents to be vigilant as heavy rains and severe thunderstorms continue to pose a serious danger to the province. The SA Weather Service confirmed the tornado.
All councillors and volunteers have been activated to assist affected communities. Residents under uMgungundlovu District can call 033 343 1719 to report disaster incidents.