Huge storm pummels Limpopo

The storm left a destructive trail in its wake, tossing corrugated iron sheets on village streets and leading to the collapse of several homes.

At least one person was injured and hundreds were left homeless when a thunderstorm tore through a number of villages in Limpopo on Monday evening.

Victims said they were watching television when their screens suddenly became blank as a power outage hit. This was followed strong winds which ripped rooves off homes.

The storm was the second one to hit the province in recent weeks, with several hundred people having been left homeless last month.

At Ga-Maja, south of Polokwane, the Moreroa family’s RDP house’s roof was blown blown off and a part of the house collapsed, injuring one of the children.

Welly Moreroa told African News Agency: “It was the only house we have, we don’t have a house now. Last night we sought refuge at our neighbours, now we can’t build the house. Maybe government will help us,” Moreroa said.

Recalling the moment the storm struck, he said: “We were watching TV, it went off, and as we were still surprised, we were enquiring what happened when the roof was blown off and we found ourselves in water.”

The six members of the family tried to flee to their neighbours, but Dipuo Kopane was not so lucky after part of the wall collapsed and several bricks fell on top of her.

Kopane said: “I was trying to escape and when the wall fell on me, I fell on the floor and more bricks hit me.”

She said she screamed for help and other family members helped to remove her from the house as she was partly buried under the rubble.

Following the storm residents found the rooftop structure approximately 100 metres away from the Moreroa house.

Sello Netshishivhe and his family also lost their roof which was blown into into their neighbour’s yard. Luckily no one was injured.

Netshishivhe recounted how his family of five were all in one room when the thunderstorm struck at about 8:30pm and they had all fled the house as the roof blew off.

“I heard the roof had blow off and we ran out and as we were still assessing the damage, the walls crumbled down,” he said.

Netshishivhe was forced to use the damaged corrugated iron sheets to construct a temporary shelter.

Daisy Tleane, a ward committee member, said government must intervene to assist victims of the storm.

“It is very bad, some of these RDP houses damaged by the storm need to be demolished completely. It is not safe to repair them for if another powerful storm comes, it will destroy them,” said Tleane.

Disaster management officials went from village to village, assessing the damage caused by the thunderstorm.

At Kopermyn village, children joined their parents and neighbours to help remove debris and rebuild shacks.

Provincial disaster Management Services spokesman Callies Matlala said officials were still compiling information on the number of homes affected.

The province was declared a disaster area last month after storms ravaged three districts and left nearly six hundred people homeless.




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