Disaster teams assisting tornado-struck community

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka has dispatched disaster management teams to New Hanover in the Mshwathi local municipality, just outside of Pietermaritzburg, to attend to people who were affected by yesterday’s tornado.

The tornado hit the area on Tuesday afternoon, injuring scores of people and damaging homes and public infrastructure.

“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.

“A number of homes have collapsed, countless trees have been uprooted and the electricity supply in the area has been interrupted. Our teams are working hard to provide support to the affected communities,” Hlomuka said.

The MEC has urged residents to be vigilant as the risk of heavy rains and severe thunderstorms continue to pose a serious danger to the province.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a warning of significant rainfall that could result in damaging impacts for some areas, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the extreme eastern parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

High rainfall totals have already been recorded across KwaZulu-Natal, resulting in the ground being saturated.

Further showers are expected on Wednesday, however, accumulated rainfall amounts for Thursday and Friday could exceed 100-150 mm in areas in the province.

“Over the central and eastern parts of KwaZulu-Natal, this heavy rain is expected to lead to flooding of roads and settlements both formal and informal, which may result in some communities being displaced and inaccessible.

“There is an extreme danger to life due to fast flowing rivers,” the weather service said.

SAWS said there is also a possibility of mudslides/landslides and soil erosion especially along highly elevated areas which might lead to further disruption to traffic flow.

All councillors and volunteers have been activated to provide a helping hand to affected communities.

Residents can contact the District Disaster Management Centres nearest to them. The centres’ contact details are as follows:

  • Ugu District - 039 682 2414
  • uMgungundlovu District - 033 343 1719
  • uThukela District - 086 010 4257
  • uMzinyathi District - 034 212 2222
  • Amajuba District - 034 329 7200
  • Zululand District - 035 870 1128/1130
  • uMkhanyakude District - 080 011 7770/035 573 1647
  • King Cetshwayo District - 086 100 3473/035 787 2698
  • Ilembe District - 032 437 9379/1
  • Harry Gwala District - 039 834 0070
  • eThekwini Metro - 031 367 0000