Call for aid after Utrecht hammered by the storm

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Recent rains have provided a welcome respite from the searing heat. Yet, the torrential downpours have caused significant damage across the province. According to reports, the eMadlangeni Municipality (Utrecht) community is one such area.

Speaking with Head of Communications Ayanda Mabaso of the Utrecht Municipality, he says that the severe thunderstorms damaged multiple homes and buildings.

According to him, the storm has impacted Wards throughout Utrecht, namely Wards 1,2,3,5. The Mangosuthu Arts and Crafts Centre did not escape damage either.

Assessments to determine the extent of the devastation and the communities affected are still ongoing.

“The damage has been detrimental as it affected households, roads infrastructure as well as the agricultural sector. The Municipality immediately activated disaster management stakeholders to begin assessments and to quantify the damage and to provide assistance to the families which have been left displaced by the storms,” Masando explained.

On Friday morning, 4 February 2022, a team comprised of the Municipal disaster management unit, the SAPS (Search and Rescue), Red CrossAmajuba Municipality, the Mayor, Cllr M L Buthelezi, and Cllr SM Khoza (Ward 5 Cllr) got to work and assessed the aftermath.

According to the Municipality, 11 households in Wards 2 and 5 have been affected thus far. Electrical failures partially damaged a total of 11 houses.

There were 54 people affected. Three injuries have been reported, but no fatalities have been reported.

“A Joint Operations Centre was immediately activated with the aim of quantifying the reported damage and make arrangements to assist community members in distress. Assessments continue in respect of housing assessment support and road infrastructure damage,” Masondo adds.

According to the eMadlangeni Municipality, 16 individuals were relocated by the Municipality as their homes were completely flooded.

With the clouds still looming, the Municipality stated that approximately ten families (+- 50 individuals) have houses built on a flood plain. This means that if the weather persists, relocation may be required. 

In the event that this transpires, a contingency has been provided by the Municipality to accommodate these families.

“Whilst we are continuing to conduct assessments, verifications, and minimal relief support to the devastated families, the Municipality is under severe strain and our minimal resources are overstretched. As a result, we have sadly been unable to reach out to all affected communities as yet. Assistance from NGOs and government departments and the private sector is urgently needed. Any kind of support for these families will assist,” Masondo concludes.

Support is needed from the community at large, NGOs, and the private sector to begin the immediate provision of supplies to affected families, which includes:

  • Food supply
  • Blankets
  • Sponges
  • Clothes

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