Destruction as deadly tornado hits KZN

Zilungile Nyangule and Zama Zondo at a site where their parent's bedroom collapsed, killing them during the floods at Amaoti outside Durban.
Zilungile Nyangule and Zama Zondo at a site where their parent's bedroom collapsed, killing them during the floods at Amaoti outside Durban.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

A tornado left a swathe of destruction in New Hanover and Greytown, north of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday.

Residents of Mshwati district were hit hard by the tunnel of wind that blew through the area, uprooting trees in its wake.

The KZN department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) said disaster management teams had been dispatched to New Hanover amid fears of possible deaths and missing people.

"Scores of people" were injured, said the department, adding that homes and public infrastructure had been damaged.

"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 Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka..

"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."

SA Weather Service (Saws) forecaster Wiseman Dlamini confirmed that there was a severe storm in the New Hanover and Greytown area. "It was a supercell and a tornado formed. I saw the severity of the storm on the radar and the wind speeds. It was on average about 20-35km per hour. This is very strong," he said.

A tornado left a swathe of destruction in New Hanover and Greytown, north of Pietermaritzburg, on November 12 2019. Emergency workers say two people died and 20 others were treated for minor to moderate injuries after the tornado ripped through the Mpolweni settlement near Wartburg.

Dlamini said the storm was now heading north, but he could not say with certainty whether the tornado would continue to those areas.

The province has been on high alert since Sunday. Four people have been confirmed dead since torrential rains and wind started battering the province.

Several videos and images of the violent storm surfaced on social media, with some residents reporting that it hit Eskom facilities in the area.

Saws has warned of possible flooding in Limpopo, KZN and Mpumalanga.

Meanwhile, Saws said further showers were expected for the rest of the week and warned that accumulated rainfall for tomorrow and Friday could exceed 100mm and 150mm in some parts of KZN.

The service said this meant "extreme danger to life due to fast-flowing rivers".

The warning comes after torrential rain with thunderstorm hit Blouberg local municipality in the Capricorn district in Limpopo on Friday, affecting more that 400 households.

A husband and wife died when their bedroom collapsed in torrential downpours in Amaoti, Inanda, north of Durban, on Monday.

Aaron Zondo, 68, and his wife Nomathamasanqa Nyangule, 55, were asleep when the incident happened.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X