Deadly storm creates havoc from Gqeberha to Tongaat

At least nine people killed by severe weather affecting almost half the country

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A woman tries to clear rubble out of the road in Magwaveni, oThongati, after the devastating storm on Monday. Many roads in and around the community have been blocked by uprooted electrical pylons and trees. Photo: Joseph Bracken

At least nine people died as a result of what is being called a tornado hitting the oThongati (formerly Tongaat) area north of Durban on Monday late afternoon.

Local ward councillor Dolly Munien said many more people were injured by the storm, which also left hundreds of people homeless as shacks were blown away and roofs ripped off.

Heavy rainfall and high waves also caused flooding and other disruptions in the Eastern and Western Cape.

Storm hits oThongati in KZN

Siya Thabani holds his recovered ID book as he stands in what used to be his bedroom. Thabani said when his roof collapsed, he ran and hid under a piece of metal sheeting. “I almost died,” he said. Photo: Joseph Bracken

According to local disaster management teams on the ground, more than 120 people are being accommodated in local shelters and halls after their homes were destroyed by the storm.

Cars were lifted and roofs ripped off by what is being called a tornado, which hit oThongati on Monday afternoon. Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

The township of Magwaveni in oThongati was hardest hit by the storm. While mopping up on Tuesday morning, resident Busisiwe Mnyandu told GroundUp that her two sisters and three-week-old niece were injured when the walls of their house collapsed during the storm. Four other children who were also in the house at the time managed to get out safely, she said.

Mnyandu rushed them to Tongaat Community Health Clinic, only to find it overwhelmed with patients on Monday. She then took them to Osindisweni Hospital, where they received treatment and were released on Tuesday morning. “We lost everything we had,” said Mnyandu.

Families came to sift through the debris of what remains of their home in eMagwaveni. Trees were stripped of their branches, roofs were ripped off houses, and household items strewn across people’s yards by extreme storm winds that ripped through oThongati. Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

Parts of oThongati looked like a war zone. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

Other areas affected include La Mercy, Sandfields, Fairbreeze, Sea Tides, and Desainager where roads were also blocked by debris and uprooted trees.

Ethekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and KwaZulu-Nata premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube visited the area. Kaunda said ensuring the safety of all residents was the main priority at this stage.

Hlengiwe Ngcobo, her toddler, and newborn baby are among families seeking shelter in the Fairbreeze Secondary School hall after extreme weather destroyed their homes in oThongati on Monday. Photo: Joseph Bracken

Storm in Eastern Cape

Huge waves from an easterly swell washed rocks and debris across the N2 outside Gqeberha. Traffic was diverted through Deal Party and Swartkops River Bridge.

A queue of vehicles stretched back past Wells Estate along the Addo Road in into Motherwell, as traffic was diverted to the M17. Photo: Joseph Chirume

Thousands of people were delayed on their way to work in Gqeberha as traffic crawled along the N2 as workers cleared debris washed across the road by huge waves caused by a massive cut-off low that hit almost half the country on Sunday and Monday. Photo: Joseph Chirume

Heavy rain in the Western Cape

On Friday, the South African Weather Service issued a warning of cut-off low pressure system moving across the country, affecting the Western Cape on Sunday and moving across the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. Cold, wet, and windy weather was predicted, with snowfall in high-lying areas.

Motorists struggled to drive on flooded Japhta Masemola Road in Khayelitsha, Cape Town on Tuesday after persistent rain since Sunday. This was one of many roads that flooded in the Western Cape. Photo: Vincent Lali

TOPICS:  Disaster

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