Tongaat tornado: Death toll rises to 12, over 1,200 people are homeless

Clean-up operations are underway in Tongaat where 12 people lost their lives on Monday. Picture: Supplied

Clean-up operations are underway in Tongaat where 12 people lost their lives on Monday. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 6, 2024


The death toll following Monday’s devastating storm in oThongathi, north of Durban has risen to 12.

In addition, over 1,200 people are homeless.

eThekwini Municipality confirmed that the oThongathi area was the hardest hit.

This is the second time the town has suffered. In April 2022, devastating floods left infrastructural damage, that saw residents go months without water.

On Thursday, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government said they were on the ground providing relief and humanitarian efforts.

KwaZulu-Natal Director-General Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, with senior government officials are on the ground. Picture: Supplied

“Initial assessments show that over 7,000 households have been damaged, affecting over 17,000 people.

“There are over 1,200 homeless families that are receiving humanitarian aid from government across the province.”

The provincial government said 18 schools suffered damages.

“The disaster teams are continuing with assessment to establish the total cost of the damages.”

On Wednesday, private security company Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) said many people were now being targeted by thieves who are stealing what little they have left.

eThekwini spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said power generators have been set up in strategic locations around the oThongathi area to ensure adequate lighting and visibility.

“Power has been restored in some parts of oThongathi.

“However, considering the scale of damages and amount of work required, it is anticipated that power supply will progressively be fully restored in the coming days.”

Provincial government appealed to the public to be patient, as damaged infrastructure has led to challenges in accessing certain areas, hampering repair efforts.

“Although the water supply was not affected, eThekwini Municipality has provided water tankers to ensure everyone has access to water.”

The Department of Social Development has made social workers available to provide counselling, and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is assisting families to replace lost social grant cards.

Home Affairs is also assisting community members who lost their identity documents.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube has assured that the government is working hard to ensure that no one is left behind.

“As a caring government, we are exploring permanent solutions to assist the victims, particularly in oThongathi.

“We have engaged with eThekwini Municipality to review existing plans related to human settlements. Working together with the city and the Provincial Department of Human Settlements, we are seeking the quickest solutions to provide shelter for those affected.

“We appreciate the continuous support from non-government organisations that have extended a helping hand to our people.

“We are working closely with all grieving families to ensure they mourn with dignity and bury their loved ones in a dignified manner,” said Dube-Ncube.

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