KZN disaster teams respond to areas affected by severe thunderstorm

The KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department says provincial disaster management teams are responding to the trail of destruction caused by severe thunderstorms, accompanied by strong winds and lightning, in Dannhauser, Estcourt, Vryheid and Ulundi. The department said three learners from Mandlamasha Primary School in Dannhauser (under Amajuba District) were struck by lightning on their way home from school on Monday. One learner died on the spot, while the other two were rushed to hospital, where they are recovering. KZN Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, has expressed condolences to the family of the departed learner and wished a speedy recovery to the two who were hospitalised. 'It is deeply sad that such a young person has left us in a tragic manner. We express our deepest condolences to the family, and we wish a speedy recovery to the other two learners that are in hospital. 'Our disaster team will reach out to the families,' Sit hole-Moloi said. Sithole-Moloi said a number of households in the three areas were severely impacted, as the strong wind tore roofs apart, causing damage to the valuables of many families. She said public infrastructure was not spared from the disaster as power lines were destroyed by the strong winds, resulting in power outages in some areas. 'Our initial reports suggest that the most affected areas were Wembezi in Estcourt (under Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality), Nhlazatshe in Ulundi and Ozwathini and Mhlongo farm under Abaqulusi Local Municipality. 'It is deeply saddening that the inclement weather has caused yet another disaster in our province, as many municipalities are currently repairing homes and infrastructure after last month's heavy rains. We have sent teams that are currently on the ground to assist affected families with immediate relief and to attend to the needs of those affected,' the MEC said. Sithole-Moloi has instructed the disaster teams to work together with all affected mun icipalities, and the department has coordinated with other departments to come to the aid of affected families. 'Some families have lost their valuables, such as furniture and important documents and medication. We are engaging with the Department of Health, Home Affairs, and SASSA [South African Social Security Agency] to assist with the replacement of important documents and medication. 'The disaster team is providing immediate relief, as it continues with assessments to establish the full extent of the damage in all affected areas. More details will be confirmed at a later stage,' Sithole-Moloi said. Source: South African Government News Agency