Devastating scenes of death, destruction and despair played out in New Hanover outside Pietermaritzburg a day after, 13 November 2019, a tornado ripped through the area, killing two people and leaving 18 injured and hundreds homeless. The community in Mpolweni had more than 200 houses before the tornado, but yesterday only four complete structures remained. Apart from the houses, classrooms were flattened, trees uprooted and water tanks damaged. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - The Gift of the Givers, has given aid to hundreds of Mpolweni residents after a severe storm ripped through KwaZulu-Natal, leaving a trail of disaster.

The Gift of the Givers arrived on Wednesday at Mpolweni Mission, New Hanover and said it was shocked by the level of destruction in various areas in the destruction. 

“We have partnered with the local municipality and today a much bigger rollout of tents, blankets, hot meals, mattresses and roof sheeting will commence. Food parcels, stationery and hygiene packs will follow,” said Imtiaz Sooliman, founder and director and chairman of Gift of the Givers.

“We could sense the appreciation of the people in the area for our presence and we were very warmly received wherever we visited.” 

He said many of the damaged houses were flattened to the ground, the roof of the main church in the area was blown away, several school classrooms were damaged, Eskom infrastructure was affected, roof sheeting was strewn over several km, there were two fatalities and many injured.

Sooliman added that access to the roads were problematic which resulted in vehicles having difficulty in passing through and that their main truck got stuck and needed assistance to be moved. 

”Many of the victims were not visible as they found refuge with a friend, neighbour or family. Although we put up some tents people were afraid that they will not be safe if more destructive weather follows.”

He said that their presence in the area had a huge psychological impact on the residents as it gave them hope and they felt reassured that meaningful support was guaranteed.

African News Agency