Mop-up operations under way in northern KZN after tornado and severe storms

24 November 2019 - 17:50 By TimesLIVE
Parts of the Waterval correctional services facility were badly damaged in the tornado that hit Utrecht, KZN, on Friday night.
Parts of the Waterval correctional services facility were badly damaged in the tornado that hit Utrecht, KZN, on Friday night.
Image: @ DefacedPicasso via Twitter

Disaster management teams have begun mop-up operations after the tornado and severe thunderstorms that swept through northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend.

KZN MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka said that disaster management teams had been deployed on Friday after reports of Utrecht being hit by a tornado.

“Assessments done by disaster management teams indicate that severe thunderstorms with lightning, very strong wind and heavy rain affected Ward 3 in the emalangeni local municipality, including Waterval Correctional Centre (CC)-Medium B and Thokoza single and married quarters of the department of correctional services (DCS). 

“In this incident, 106 households were damaged. Disaster management teams are on the ground and have provided relevant support to the affected families,” he said.

The department was also busy assessing damage to houses in the Nongoma, Ulundi, Abaqulusi and oPhongolo areas which experienced severe thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds, hail, severe lightning and heavy downpours.

A tornado was reported to have been spotted in the Ulundi area.

“So far no loss of life or injuries have been reported,” Hlomuka said.

He said the department had activated community development workers and caregivers who were working together with disaster management teams on the ground in deeply rural parts of Zululand where houses were far apart.

“The department continues to provide interim relief to affected households affected, this includes the provision of tents, blankets, basic supplies, plastic sheeting.” 

Hlomuka warned residents to remain “vigilant” as the SA Weather Service had indicated that severe thunderstorms were expected to continue into Sunday evening over large parts of the province.

“We are urging residents to protect themselves by taking heed to this important weather warning. We are also appealing to parents to ensure that pupils utilise the correct routes to get to school,” he said.


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