More than 300 families were left without roofs over their heads after their homes were damaged by huge hailstones, some bigger than tennis balls, which hit Ladysmith and Estcourt on Sunday night.
And the areas could expect more hail and heavy rains from this afternoon, according to SA Weather Service forecaster, Lucky Makhwedzha: “There is an 80 percent chance of severe thundershowers. These might bring hail and damaging winds.”
Abed Karrim, project co-ordinator of the Al-Imdaad Foundation based in Estcourt, said that he and more than 100 volunteers from different organisations had spent all night distributing blankets and mattresses, and were planning to do the same on Mondaynight.
“We haven’t had any sleep yet, and because today is a normal working day, we might see fewer people in our volunteer group,” Karrim said on Monday.
He said that the storm had reached its crescendo between 5pm and 6pm and houses in the suburbs of Acaciavale, Ntombi’s Camp, Steadville and areas in Colenso had been damaged.
“The hailstones were bigger than golf balls and they caused ceilings to collapse. This was followed by a heavy downpour, which in turn damaged people’s belongings,” he said.
“In some cases it looked like someone had taken a hammer to [cars],” he said
Some had opted to sleep in their cars and homes to protect whatever belongings they had left, and others slept in community halls.
He said that on Monday, because more rain and hail were expected, they would be distributing plastic and tarpaulin sheets.
Spokesman for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lennox Mabaso, said disaster management teams would be assisting on Monday.
“We urge people to be cautious and prepare themselves, especially with the severe weather conditions being experienced across KZN as a result of climate change.”
Lieutenant AT Mtshali, of the SAPS said the roof of his house had caved in and hail had poured into his Acaciavale house.
“Everything is damaged: the furniture, the appliances, the windows… We are going to have to re-build after this is over.”
Thobekile Shabalala said on Facebook: “Unbelievable! Can’t believe I’m sleeping with half the windows gone.”
Sengetile Nhlengethwa also expressed her shock.
“It’s shocking that this happened out of the blue. I’ve never seen [anything like] this in my entire life: all my house windows are broken, my ceiling is damaged… God will definitely make a way.”
Avisha Sidhoo wrote: “What an awful way to end the year! Everyone that was devastated by the storm, my heartfelt prayers go out to you! I can only imagine how the poor will struggle to rebuild their houses.”
Leeyen Singh said that it was a “scary experience”.
“My neighbour’s house is destroyed; the ceiling fell down and their whole house is finished. It was really bad and the hail was the size of tennis balls.
Kalyani Mudeliar wrote: “House is flooded and room and car windows are broken; the ceiling and gutters are broken. [This was a] worse experience than the floods!!! Hope everyone is safe.”