Two dead, 20 injured after tornado strikes KZN

13 November 2019 - 08:47 By Yasantha Naidoo
Residents try to salvage their possessions after a tornado struck Mpolweni in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Tuesday.
Residents try to salvage their possessions after a tornado struck Mpolweni in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Tuesday.
Image: Orrin Singh

Emergency workers say two people died and 20 others were treated for minor to moderate injuries after a tornado ripped through the Mpolweni settlement near Wartburg in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.

ER24 spokesperson Ross Campbell said paramedics responded to a call from Disaster Management and Search & Rescue to assist on the scene at 5.20pm.

“Provincial medics were already on the scene, having assisted with nine patients. Two adults were unfortunately declared dead on the scene. ER24 set up a triage area and treated and transported a further nine patients with minor to moderate injuries to various hospitals in the area.

“Provincial also transported a further two, bringing the total injured on scene to 20. An adult woman, who had suffered serious injuries as a result of losing control of her vehicle during the storm, was treated with advanced life support interventions, before being taken to Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg for further care.”

Campbell said many animals were reported to have been injured or killed in the area and power lines were also down.

The rescue effort, which included fire and police, was called off about midnight and resumed on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, KZN premier Sihle Zikalala and provincial co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka are expected to visit the families in the affected area on Wednesday morning. 

Hlomuka dispatched disaster management teams after the tragic scenes, in which several households were swept away by the tornado in Mpolweni and Thokozani, in the uMshwathi local municipality.

Hlomuka will be leading efforts to provide interim relief to victims, many of whom now have now to pick up the pieces after the devastating impact of the tornado. 

Cogta spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila confirmed the two deaths.

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.


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