NEWS

Poor Residents The Hardest Hit After Joburg Tornado

Storm has brought chaos and destruction to those in Joburg's impoverished suburbs.

10/10/2017 12:24 SAST | Updated 11/10/2017 10:23 SAST

The sun may have come out in the storm-wrecked suburbs of Johannesburg, but there is little hope for those beyond the commercial developments and residential estates where some 500 people are being relocated.

Residents of an informal settlement near Ruimsig, west of Johannesburg, asked HuffPost SA on Tuesday, "When will they help us?" as they tried to rebuild what had remained of their homes.

"In the community of Orient Hills on the West Rand‚ emergency personnel are in the process of relocating as many as 500 people after their homes were destroyed‚ to the Magaliesberg community hall‚" the Gauteng department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs said.

A few kilometres up the road from the settlement, Cradlestone Mall had evacuated its tenants and closed its doors for the foreseeable future. Scores of shop attendants and mall staff lined the road outside the mall as HuffPost SA arrived to survey the scope of the damage. The mall's ceiling collapsed during yesterday's storm, leaving two people injured.

Owing to its position at one of the highest points in the area, the mall was one of the worst-hit by the storm, hail and wind. All around the mall, homes in the neighbouring Featherbrooke Estate could be seen from the main road having their roof tiles and joists restored.

One home in the Featherbrooke vicinity visited by Huffpost SA had its roof entirely ripped off.

One resident was trapped inside a vehicle, severely injured by a collapsed beam, and hospitalised as a result. Residents of that property said that 17 trees on a neighbouring property had been ripped out of the ground on the eve of the storm.

"Malls', schools' and houses' roofs have been blown off, but the team is on top of it, we are helping the families affected," Dr Ellias Sithole, head of Gauteng Disaster Management said on Tuesday morning.