WATCH: eMpangeni counts the cost following storm that claimed one life, damaged homes and forced flights to divert to Durban

Part of the damage after the storm on Monday. Picture: Supplied

Part of the damage after the storm on Monday. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 4, 2023


eMpangeni – The City of Umhlathuze (Richards Bay-eMpangeni) in northern KwaZulu-Natal says the heavy rains and winds that struck the area on Monday left a trail of destruction.

It says one life was lost, several people were injured, homes (number yet not known) were damaged, and a police station and the Qalakabusha prison which once housed Schabir Shaik, were affected.

Also affected was the Sanlam centre, a famous mall in the city of Empangeni.

“The police station again was actually damaged, the windows, the Qalakabusha prison was damaged as well,” Umhlathuze mayor Xolani Ngwezi told the media.’

This was revealed on Tuesday by Ngwezi after together with his municipal manager, Nkosenye Zulu, and disaster officials assessed the damage.

The deceased person is Petros Khumbane who died while doing some work in the extended section of the Five Ways Mall along the highway on your way to the central business district of the city of eMpangeni.

Video: Supplied

In the same mall, four other people were injured and were rushed to hospital where they are currently recovering.

The others who were working with Khumbane are currently receiving counselling after the incident.

“As you can see many homes were damaged including this homestead where we are, the Mpanza family, they lost everything, which used to be their house, as you can see the roof… is torn apart from the structure.

“Even the integrity of the structure is severely damaged, you can see that they need a completely new structure which they can call a house,” Ngwezi said.

Regarding their road infrastructure, Ngwezi said most of their roads were blocked by trees that were uprooted by the storm and they have since cleared most of them.

“We have had roads being blocked by trees but our teams are actually dealing with that now, trying to clear them and make sure that there is movement of both human (beings) and traffic on the road,” he said.

Ngwezi also said the way the storm was so severe, Richards Bay airport had to divert flights to King Shaka International Airport in Durban - some 240 kilometres away.

“We have had our airport as we have indicated earlier on been damaged…yesterday we have to request flights not to land in Richards Bay but land in King Shaka,” he said, adding that it was quite a very bad experience for the city.

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