A heavy hailstorm has resulted in devastation in Mthatha, Eastern Cape over the weekend. The severe storms claimed the lives of six citizens with hundreds left homeless.
The nation continues to endure extreme weather conditions and the past weekend saw the residents of Xhongorha and Sigubudwini, villages outside of Mthatha, devastated.
Heavy hail hwe damaged roads, infrastructure and flattened numerous homes. More than 19 residents of the community were injured during the storm and taken to Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital for treatment.
The severe hailstorm resulted in six fatalities. Image: Pexels
Hail lays waste to community on immense scale
With entire families left defenseless, many residents are fearful that another hailstorm might occur and worsen an already dire situation. Speaking to SABC, resident Nolungelo Petrosi called for the government to intervene.
“I have lost everything, the storm just crippled our livelihood. I am sifting my clothes from the collapsed walls. We do not have a place, we do not know what will happen when the sun goes down. We would like government to come and help us because we need help,”
Kwakhanya Sanela described a heartbreaking situation, revealing that the family had slept in wet beds on empty stomachs due to the storm.
Left traumatised by the ordeal, Sanela insists the family needs counselling and immediate aid from authorities. Similarly, resident Nosakhele Ntoyanto commented that the storm had wreaked destruction to such an extent that an entire generation is now devastated.
“It is bad. Our home is gone. My sister’s home is gone, my third sister’s home is demolished. My house is also gone. I also had a creche but all that is gone now we do not know what will happen next,”
Infrastructure damage affects basic services
Reports indicate that basic service delivery to the affected region has been hard hit. Electricity supply, roads, water and even crops have been affected.
Villagers have resorted to salvaging what they can from the ruins of their homesteads with families left uncertain where to turn for the basics like shelter. Considering the magnitude of the damage, it is believed that it will cost the state millions to have the village functioning as normal.
Meanwhile, the disaster management team has been dispatched to the affected areas in order to assess the damage. The Ngolomane family, who lost their 17-year-old daughter, commented on the situation
“The most important issue is that they must understand that we need shelter out of everything that has just happened, at least they should have provided shelter, whether it is temporary or permanent structures or whatever. As taxpayers we always expect the government to do something, there is nothing they have provided. Every department has just come and passed by, nothing provided, even the institution for counselling,”
State on the scene to assess and assist following storm
OR Tambo District Municipality spokesperson Zimkhitha Macingwane says that the state is doing its best to implement interventions.
Disaster Management in the OR Tambo District Municipality has been busy on the ground collecting data. Plans to help the affected communities are on the cards.
“We are looking into making sure that people have temporary shelter. We will be working with various departments because we can not deal with this as the district municipality alone,”
Zimkhitha Macingwane, OR Tambo District Municipality spokesperson