Sunday Tribune

ROOF FALL KIDS ON THE MEND

Hand of God saved 14 children, says helper

- MASOOD BOOMGAARD

STILL shaken by the near-tragedy that saw the roof of her creche fall on 14 preschoole­rs in her care, Mileshni Naidoo has two tasks on her agenda: to find out from parents how the children are doing and to thank God for saving their lives.

Nine of the preschoole­rs were slightly injured at her Little Teddy’s crèche when a neighbour’s retaining wall crashed through the roof.

The eThekwini Fire Department confirmed this week that the collapse of a retaining wall had led to the accident.

“It’s a miracle there were only minor injuries. God was here,” said Naidoo.

“The hand of God saved the children,” said Naidoo’s sister Loshnee Moodley, echoing her sentiments.

Moodley helps Naidoo run the crèche.

“We also thank the fire department for their work and the neighbours who came out and gave their support after the accident,” Naidoo said.

“The parents have also been very supportive.”

One of the children injured, three-year-old Nikiel Ramkissoon, is said to be recovering well at home under the care of his grandmothe­r.

“He was in shock for much of Thursday, but was okay on Friday,” said his grandmothe­r, Ramprayi Ramchander.

“He complains of a sore leg and hand, but we’ve taken him to the doctor and he should be fine. We have only God to thank for that.”

Ramchander said she feared the worst when she learnt of the accident. “I was frightened when I saw all the police cars and ambulances. I feared for Nikiel,” she said.

She said the future of the boy’s preschooli­ng was uncertain since the crèche had been shut indefinite­ly.

“We don’t know when he will go back, but I’m sure he will relive the shock of what happened if he were to see the place again,” she said.

Michelle Pather, the mother of another child at the crèche, Keenan, said her son had been traumatise­d by the incident but suffered only a bump on the forehead.

“I had to explain to him that such things happen and that everything is going to be okay. I took him past the school to get him used to the place again and to see his teacher because he was worried about what was going to happen to the crèche,” Pather said.

“When I first got the call, I was told he was being taken in an ambulance because he had been under the roof when it collapsed.

“I was so worried, but when I got to the hospital and saw him I was relieved that he was okay. It was an accident. So you can’ t blame anyone. You just have to be grateful no one got badly hurt.”

The Ethekwini Fire Department said the retaining wall that collapsed on the crèche had not been constructe­d illegally and a case would not be opened against the builder.

“The building is on a steep slope, with the houses and boundary walls close. It is thought that constructi­on work on a house above the crèche caused the retaining wall to fall away,” said Netcare 911’s Jeff Wicks.

Chris Govender, the builder who worked on the adjacent property, said that recent heavy rains had resulted in the collapse of the wall.

“There was no negligence on our part. Everything was a hundred percent. We’ve had inspectors come out and verify that,” said Govender.

Ethekwini Municipali­ty building inspector Victor Maphumulo, who visited the scene on Thursday, said the matter had been handed to his superiors.

Maphumulo advised those building during the rainy season to take special precaution­s.

“There is nothing you can do to stop the rain, but if you’re building you must ensure that you divert storm water away,” he said.

 ??  ?? Workers clean up at the site of the crèche roof collapse.
Workers clean up at the site of the crèche roof collapse.

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