A severe storm, characterized by heavy rain and strong winds, wreaked havoc in parts of northern KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend. The storm claimed at least five lives, injured 14 people, and caused extensive damage. The victims described the wind as “demonic.”
KwaZulu-Natal ‘demonic’ winds
In Mtubatuba, over 100 homes were destroyed. Most of the victims were children, including 13-year-old John Khumalo from eMapheleni. John’s aunt, Jabulisile Mthethwa, recounted how the house John was in with his mother and grandmother collapsed due to the strong wind. She expressed her grief over the tragic incident and the extensive damage caused by the storm.
Three-year-old Siyethemba Sibisi from Emachibini village was another child victim of the storm. Her uncle, Mncedisi Sibisi, heard their house collapse and rushed to check on them. Despite his efforts and those of neighbors to rescue them, Siyethemba did not survive.
Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube led a provincial government delegation to visit the affected families on Monday. She was accompanied by co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi, human settlements MEC Sipho Nkosi, and Umkhanyakude mayor Siphile Mdaka.
The delegation is still assessing the full extent of the damage but confirmed that roads, schools, and homes were affected. In Emachibini alone, more than 120 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Assistance and Recovery Efforts
The government has pledged to assist families in need, including with funeral arrangements. Immediate response measures include ensuring that schools are ready for students as they prepare for exams. The defense force has also been called in to assist with clearing debris.
Despite financial constraints, the government is committed to prioritizing resources for recovery efforts. The cost of the damage will only be known after finalizing assessments. In the meantime, various departments are being asked for approvals to use available resources for immediate interventions.