Bloemfontein was rocked by severe thunderstorms and strong winds yesterday, 6 December afternoon. This caused damage to several properties. Turflaagte, a township in Bloemfontein, was hit by strong winds that blew away the roofs of many houses.
Turflaagte has been devastated by the natural disaster. In the areas affected by the storm, trees and poles of electricity were uprooted. The cost of rebuilding houses and replacing furniture, vehicles and other movable property is a major concern for the affected people. House costs include new roofs, glass windows and doors along with labour to fix their property.
Storms that lasted for about 10 minutes impacted mostly the houses of the Valashiya Zone, located near the Kopanong Secondary school. The soaking rain caused some people to suffer cold temperatures as they slept under roofless homes.
George Mabote recounts the incident: “As I was leaving the house, my son called to tell me to return home in a matter of minutes. In a flash, he pointed to the cloudy sky. Then, the roof was completely gone. The roof is so dark that I cannot identify the material. “Fortunately, the car was at the entrance to the gate and it is a wonder that it wasn’t affected.
James Kumalo, his wife Palesa and their three children were caught in the storm and they say that the wind was so strong it blew the roof off.
We were unsure of what to do. Palesa says, “It was pitch black with no electricity.”
Mabote, a neighbour, and Kumalo became night-watchers, just like many of the people who lost their roofs.
Mabote says that he slept inside his car to protect himself from criminals who would steal our possessions.
Angela Ndunge, an elderly woman who was rescued by neighbours says that she is grateful to still be alive. Her house’s roof was blown away and the walls collapsed.
My neighbours pulled through a collapsed window. “It’s a catastrophe for me because I live on the state grant, and won’t be able afford to fix my house or buy new furniture,” Ndunge says.
Storms caused a collapse of a multi-parking area at Mzimeni Valashiya’s property.
The South African Red Cross, along with the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality sent disaster teams to assess the situation in the area.
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