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29 December 2011

Bleak Christmas as storm wreaks havoc in Ladysmith

RESIDENTS of Ladysmith in northern KwaZulu-Natal had a dark and miserable Christmas after mother nature wreaked havoc on Christmas eve, leaving about 100 families homeless.

Families had a cold night after their belongings, including foodstuffs, were destroyed. Roofs were blown away and some of the homes' walls collapsed while others were flooded.

uMnambithi (Ladysmith) municipality mayor Vincent Madlala said many families were left without roofs over their heads. He appealed for any kind of assistance to help the distraught families.

"Many homes were severely damaged and the affected families need food and clothes," Madlala said.

He said many families had already bought groceries for Christmas but everything was ruined. Some families had since been accommodated in community halls others have already started mop-up operations.

The municipality has provided some victims with tents while fixing their homes.

Madlala appealed for food, clothes and blankets to be donated to the stricken families. Donations will be distributed through the municipality's safety department.

Hleziphi Majola said she was grateful that her life had been spared. She said she thought they were going to die when the roof of her house was blown away.

"The wall collapsed with the children inside, but we were lucky that no one sustained injuries," she said.

Majola said she was left with nothing. She was now staying in a tent donated by government officials.

"We will start fixing our house once the hardware store is open. But we do not even have money to buy the material."

Storms had cost the KwaZulu-Natal government more than R84-million this year, while hundreds of people were still waiting for assistance.

At the eThekwini municipality alone, more than 5434 homes still need to be repaired.

Donors can contact the department on 036-631-1777.

- Sowetan