The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) says one school pupil was killed and two injured when they were struck by lightning in Dannhauser in the Amajuba District, in northern KZN on Monday.
KZN Cogta said provincial disaster management teams are responding to the trail of destruction caused by severe thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds and lightning in Dannhauser, Estcourt, Vryheid, and Ulundi.
Cogta MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi said the three learners from Mandlamasha Primary School, in Dannhauser, were struck by lightning on their way home from school on Monday.
“Unfortunately one learner died on the spot while the other two were rushed to hospital where they are recovering.”
Sithole-Moloi expressed condolences to the family of the departed learner and wished a speedy recovery to the two learners who were hospitalised.
“It is deeply sad that such a young person has left us in such a tragic manner. We express our deepest condolences to the family.
“We also wish a speedy recovery to the other two learners in hospital.
“Our disaster team will reach out to the families as per our normal procedure to assist families affected by such incidents.”
Sithole-Moloi said a number of households in the four areas were severely impacted as the strong wind tore roofs apart, causing damage to the valuables of many families.
“Public infrastructure was not spared as power lines were destroyed by the strong winds, resulting in power outages in some areas.”
Sithole-Moloi said initial reports suggest that the most affected areas were Wembezi in Estcourt, under the Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality, which was damaged by thunderstorm and strong winds.
“Nhlazatshe in Ulundi, damaged by strong winds and Ozwathini and Mhlongo farm under Abaqulusi Local Municipality, were damaged by the hailstorm.”
It was deeply saddening that the inclement weather has caused another disaster in our province, Sithole-Moloi said, as many municipalities are currently repairing homes and infrastructure after last month’s heavy rains.
“Teams are currently on the ground to assist affected families with immediate relief and to attend to the needs of those affected.
“We have co-ordinated with other departments to come to the aid of affected families.
“Some families have lost furniture and important documents and medications. We are engaging with the Department of Health, Home Affairs, and Sassa to provide more assistance.”
Cogta added that more details on assessment of damage will be confirmed at a later stage.