Durban – The KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said based on an initial report, at least four people died due to a thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds in Mtubatuba in northern KZN over this weekend.
This comes after the South African Weather Service (Saws) issued a level 6 weather warning, for widespread to scattered showers and thundershowers, across the province over the weekend.
Cogta spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said the storm tore roofs off houses and caused damage to infrastructure, including power cables, roads, bridges, and vehicles in Mtubatuba.
“Our initial report from Mtubatuba reveals that at least four individuals lost their lives due to a thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds,” he said.
MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi conveyed her sincere condolences to the families and friends during this challenging period.
The department said for now there are 70 houses in Somkhele and KwaMyeki areas that have been destroyed.
Mngadi said some houses suffered complete damage, rendering families homeless.
“Community halls and churches have opened their doors to the public, while others have sought alternative accommodation with relatives,” he said.
He said there are also reports of damaged vehicles, and in certain areas, Eskom poles and cables are scattered across roads and people’s properties.
Mngadi said in the Harry Gwala District, the Greater Kokstad Municipality experienced heavy rains and a hailstorm in the Pakkies area.
“Approximately six households were affected, with no reported fatalities, injuries, or displaced individuals at this point,” he said.
Other areas affected include the uMzimkhulu Municipality, where heavy rains in the Madakeni location affected four households, with no fatalities reported at this stage while in the uMgungundlovu District, about 23 households in the Rosetta informal settlement under Mpofana Local Municipality were affected by the hailstorm on Saturday night.
“In uLundi, under Zululand District Municipality, a block of rental rooms was blown away by strong winds last night, with no reported injuries,” said Mngadi.
The MEC said disaster management teams will continue on-site assessments and provide relief, including mattresses, blankets, food, and plastic sheeting.
Sithole-Moloi said the department is collaborating with other government departments, such as Social Development and Human Settlement, to aid all victims.
“Our teams, in conjunction with municipalities, will persist in assessments to determine necessary government intervention. We extend condolences to those who lost loved ones during this period. While we acknowledge that certain incidents are unavoidable, such as the thunderstorm with strong winds that devastated houses in Mtubatuba, we encourage communities to take safety precautions, such as relocating to safer areas where possible,” she said.
She said as heavy rains persist across various parts of the province, Cogta’s disaster management teams remain on high alert.
The department said assessments would continue and an updated report would be issued.
Source : IOL