DURBAN – Tornado and heavy rains left many homes and hearts devastated on Tuesday

A mini tornado wreaked havoc in the town of Inanda, a town of Durban, South Africa, and its surrounding areas, leaving a trail of destruction, injured individuals, and damaged homes.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a warning to residents about the possibility of heavy rain and potential flooding. As predicted, Durban was engulfed by heavy rainfall, leading to the blockage of several roads and creating further challenges for affected communities.

Videos capturing the intensity of the storm and the resulting damage quickly went viral on social media platforms. In one distressing video, the force of the tornado is evident as roofs are blown away, prompting a plea for help from a frightened woman behind the camera. Residents on social media also reported fallen power lines in certain areas, while VIP Security confirmed that numerous individuals had sustained injuries during the tornado.  In response to the emergency, local fire departments and other emergency services swiftly mobilised to provide assistance to those affected by the tornado. Their swift presence on the scene offered great comfort to residents grappling with the aftermath of the devastating weather event.

This after devastating floods struck Durban and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal a year ago, with the flood proved to be the worst natural catastrophe ever recorded in KZN in terms of human casualties, property destruction, and economic effects, according to new research.  Published in the South African Geographical Journal on 11 April 2023, the study was a collaboration between researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom.
The slow-moving storm Issa dumped more than 300 mm of rain in 24 hours over the KZN coastal zone, including the larger Durban region and the South Coast, on 11-12 April 2022.  Up to 459 people lost their lives because of the flooding and landslides with an additional forty thousand losing their homes. It is now believed that businesses and infrastructure lost a total of R36 billion.

Durban was nearly ground to a halt by the floods, which caused more damage than municipal and provincial officials were prepared to handle. President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaimed a national state of calamity because of the dire circumstances.

Zoé Pillay – Safe Cities Media
Photo: Widely circulated on social media