Tongaat residents pick up the pieces after Monday’s tornado, death toll climbs to 11



Published Jun 4, 2024


The death toll from Monday’s tornado in KwaZulu-Natal’s northern town of Tongaat, has climbed to 11.

In a joint statement, KZN’s local government departments said seven of the deceased are from Tongaat, while the other fatalities were reported in Nquthu, Eshowe and KwaHlabisa respectively.

Over 55 people suffered minor to moderate injuries and are receiving medical treatment in hospital. At least 120 people have been displaced and three temporary shelters have been established where the affected families are receiving humanitarian aid.

“At this stage uThongathi has been classified as the most affected area with hundreds of houses severely destroyed. Other areas such as Umgababa south of the eThekwini Metro, Eshowe, Utrecht, Osizweni and KwaHlabisa have also been severely affected. Public infrastructures such as schools, roads, community halls and health care facilities were affected,” the statement read.

When IOL visited the area, residents could be seen trying to salvage what’s left of their homes.

Homeowner, Ronnie Naidoo, said his property, which has four homes on it, was completely destroyed.

“I got a call to come home telling me to rush home. I was held up in traffic because trees had fallen over. By the time, I got here, I couldn’t believe what I saw,” he said.

Naidoo has been living on the property for 42 years.

Naidoo told IOL that he has to remain on the property as he fears what's left of their personal items could be looted. There have been reports that homes, damaged by Monday's freak weather, have already been looted.

Another resident, Mahomed Mukhtar, said he was at home when the tornado hit.

“It started hailing and my kids were standing in the lounge. They could see something in the distance, like something was burning. I came to look and I could see things twirling in the air. I told them this was not smoke, this was a tornado.

“There was no time to do anything. All we could do was go to the room right at the back of the house and it hit us,” he said.

There were six people at home and none were harmed. The family have also lived in Tongaat for around 42 years.

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said disaster management teams are conducting assessments and coordinating humanitarian efforts for the affected families

“Non-Government Organisations including Red Cross, Al-Imdaad Foundation, Gift of the Givers and IPSS Medical Rescue are working closely with government to ensure the provision of hot meals, mattresses, blankets, food parcels and humanitarian assistance,” she said.

The Naidoo family’s home in Tongaat. Picture: Se-Anne Rall/IOL

Several other homes were also destroyed in Monday’s tornado. Picture: Se-Anne Rall/IOL

Damage to one of the properties in Tongaat. Picture: Supplied/DA

IOL News