'People screaming' as tornado strikes E Cape town

Five people were critically injured and at least 20 hurt when a tornado whipped through the town of Klipplaat near Jansenville in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday evening.

The five were taken to Port Elizabeth hospital. Between 20 and 25 people were taken to Jansenville hospital with minor injuries, Iqwezi municipality councillor Mannetjie Blouw said.

“You couldn’t see, you could only hear the wind and the rain. People were screaming and running around trying to figure out what was happening,” said Amos Dyasi, a unit manager at the Ikwezi municipality.

Dyasi said the tornado struck at 6.20pm and lasted about 15 minutes, although Blouw said it lasted 30 minutes.

The roof of the municipal building was torn off and at least 35 houses were damaged.
Trees and telephone poles were uprooted and electric cables torn down.

“The town looks like Baghdad. It’s dead. There was wind, rain, hail coming from all four corners,” Blouw said.

He estimated that in the town with a population of between 3 000 and 4 000 people and an unemployment rate of 85%, 280 houses were affected and 60 of those were flattened by the storm.

Those affected were being accommodated in the town’s community hall.

Parts of the town itself and the informal settlement had been struck.

The damage caused by the tornado was not as bad as the one that had struck neighbouring Jansenville in 2002, Dyasi said.—Sapa

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