The Star Late Edition

Storm and flood kill 5 in KZN as homes collapse


A MAN who survived a New Year’s Eve storm that flattened his Msinga home and killed four relatives clung to the branches of a tree until the water subsided.

Ntokozo Masikane, 31, said the family had gathered on Saturday for the New Year celebratio­ns when storm clouds gathered. Then a hailstorm pounded their home.

“When the wind started, accompanie­d by heavy rain, we went into an outbuildin­g while other members of the family remained in the big house,” said Masikane.

“Suddenly the house was full of water as huge waves pounded it and broke it down.

“We were swept out by the water, with those in the big house shouting that we should hold on to branches.

“We held on to branches until the water subsided. But some in the big house were less lucky, as four were swept away by the water,” said Masikane.

He said that despite wounds from the house collapsing on them, the survivors crawled to a nearby road, from where they were picked up by an ambulance and taken to hospital.

Masikane said they did not realise until much later that some relatives were missing.

“We are left with no houses, clothes or food. The hunt for those who disappeare­d is still on, but divers have not arrived to assist us,” he said.

Five people were confirmed dead and several were missing after the storm, which tore through Msinga and Mvoti, causing flooding and damage to infrastruc­ture and properties.

Midlands police said one family lost four members when the walls of their house collapsed, with a person being killed in another house that was flattened in the storm.

Premier Zweli Mkhize yesterday visited families who were left destitute.

“I have visited the area to assess the damage and ensure that we bring government services closer to the people during this difficult time,” the premier said. He said recent severe weather patterns were a clear indication climate change was a big threat to human developmen­t and was the defining challenge for the 21st century.

“Climatolog­ists and internatio­nal experts warned at the COP17 summit in Durban recently that the world is drifting towards a tipping point.

“There are fears that this could leave hundreds of millions of people in poorer countries, like South Africa, facing malnutriti­on, water scarcity, ecological threats and loss of livelihood­s,” Mkhize said.

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