Helping hand for storm victims

Representatives of the businesses that gave food and blankets to the stricken oThongathi residents. | WILLEM PHUNGULA

Representatives of the businesses that gave food and blankets to the stricken oThongathi residents. | WILLEM PHUNGULA

Published Jun 6, 2024


Durban — Donations have started flowing to oThongathi after the area was ravaged by a hail storm on Monday afternoon.

The storm, which residents said lasted several minutes, left at least seven people dead and a trail of destruction. On Wednesday, truckloads of food stuff and blankets were delivered to the hall that housed displaced people.

The donations were from five business people who came together to support the affected communities.

According to local community leader Silindile Khuzwayo, close to 2 000 people who were displaced would benefit from the donations. She said there were 650 people affected in the Newtown section, 590 in the KwaTshatsha area, 480 in Magwaveni, and around 200 in the Burbreeze area.

She added that her committee was continuing to register the affected people. Khuzwayo thanked the businesses for their generosity, saying the community were in dire need of help, and called on other businesses to lend a hand.

The companies that donated were Roadstar Security and Towing, SCS Worldwide Logistics, Cars on Ridge, Auto Visual Car Sales, and Umgeni Auto Cars.

Speaking on behalf of the businesses that donated, Jason Reddy said they were deeply moved by the incident and as businesses decided that they should lend a hand and support the affected communities.

“After seeing the devastation on the news, we were deeply saddened to see the suffering of the community who lost everything, including food and clothing, and we decided to lend our support. We were informed that the people are kept in the halls and we thought about basic needs like food and blankets, especially during winter,” said Reddy.

The businesses also committed to providing 2 000 loaves of bread daily for the affected communities.

On Wednesday, there was a massive mop-up operation for disaster teams clearing debris and trees that had fallen on the roads. EThekwini Municipality infrastructure teams were also on-site repairing the damaged electricity infrastructure and other services that were affected.

The Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) department, which led the mop-up operation, said its teams were still quantifying the cost of the disaster. Cogta KZN spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said seven people died in oThongathi and four in other parts of the province.

Among the dead was a 1-year-old Mozambican twin girl who died instantly after a fridge fell on her. Her twin and mother are in the ICU at Victoria Mxenge Hospital (formerly King Edward VIII).

On Wednesday, the area was visited by IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli, who sent his condolences to the families that lost their loved ones.

Speaking to the Daily News team that visited the area on Tuesday, survivors described the storm as “scary” and “terrible”, saying they heard a big bang and suddenly saw houses’ roofs flying overhead.

KZN, being on the coast, is particularly vulnerable to climatic disasters.

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