More relief needed after oThongathi storm

Residents of eMagwaveni in oThongathi queued in snaking lines to have their names captured by government officials so they can receive aid. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ Independent Newspapers

Residents of eMagwaveni in oThongathi queued in snaking lines to have their names captured by government officials so they can receive aid. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 10, 2024


Humanitarian aid and community organisations remain on the ground assisting victims of the worst-affected areas in oThongathi after parts of the province were hit by a devastating storm last week.

The KZN government has confirmed that at least 12 people have been killed and more than 1 200 families left homeless. Siyanda Calvin Ntenga, from the Ntenga Foundation, said they visited several areas in oThongathi where heavy winds and rains destroyed homes and led to the death of several people.

“The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the extent of the destruction and create a report outlining the urgent requirements. Additionally, the team distributed lunch meals to those affected who are currently staying at Newtown Hall.”

The South African Red Cross Society said it was on the ground assisting victims.

“The KZN provincial response team has been activated to respond to the ongoing effect of the storm which has affected households and individuals in the community of Tongaat (eThekwini Metro), Stanger (KwaDukuza Local Municipality) and various areas under Jozini and uMlalazi Local Municipality.”

Seatides Combined School said that it was not spared.

“Our school, with a population of almost 900 learners and 40 members of staff, was ravaged, with severe damage to infrastructure and equipment.

“We humbly appeal to members of the community, former learners and businesses to assist in the rebuilding of our precious school so that we may continue to produce academic excellence.”

Muzi Mahlambi, communications manager at the KZN Education Department, said that at least 20 schools had been affected by the storm.

“Seatides Combined School was the worst-affected and the department has moved Grades 10, 11 and 12 learners to Anton Lembede so that they can proceed with their exams.

“We are going to be providing mobile classrooms to some of the schools. We have quantified the number of mobile classrooms as 56 for now. That is the report we are working with. However, we continue to monitor the situation and engage affected districts.”

Bilal Jeewa, provincial spokesperson of Gift of the Givers, said that their teams were assessing the repairs needed to schools that were damaged by the storm, Sandfields Primary and Seatides Secondary.

“We are also conducting interventions such as hygiene care packs, non-perishable foods, blankets, bottled water in areas that are in need.”

Tongaat Disaster Relief (TDR) said it was operating from the Vishwaroop School, which is the nerve centre for co-ordination of relief work, including donations, sponsorships and the volunteership.

“It is made up of several community-based organisations working together in unison to offer support to all of the victims of the Tongaat tornado disaster.

“We have identified affected areas and have community leaders and activists on the ground locally who are managing a collection of personal data of affected families.

“This information determines the allocation of resources to the affected areas. Relief teams are based at the Tongaat Disaster Relief Command Centre at Vishwaroop and community members are welcome to volunteer their services,” TDR added.

The organisation said its current needs included trauma counselling and more volunteers.

“We also need road representatives from affected areas to monitor via neighbourhood watch groups, in order to prevent theft, vandalism and looting of affected homes in the affected areas.”

Those wishing to assist with items could do so at the following venues:

  • eThekwini Ratepayers and Residents Association at 114 Sastri Circle, Belvedere Tongaat or Haven of Rest.
  • Drop-off points for the Tongaat tornado contributions are Gift of the Givers offices in Pietermaritzburg (13 Bulman Road, Mkondeni) and Gift of the Givers Durban office (563 Ridge Road).

Gift of the Givers said that members of the public could make monetary donations to: Account Holder: Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg Account Number: 052137228 Branch Code: 057525 Reference: Tongaat Tornado

The Mercury