Bergville ‘tornado’ was funnel cloud formation, says KZN govt

Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government said the footage of what appeared to be a tornado in the Jaargursut mountains in Bergville on Thursday was nothing more than a   “funnel cloud formation” that resembled a tornado.

“The funnel cloud did not reach any residential areas in Bergville and there are no fatalities or damage reported at this stage,” a statement from the provincial government said.

“The KZN provincial government is urging the public to desist from redistributing news items that contain unverified information and often constitute fake news,” the statement said.

Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka said all municipalities were instructed to have District Joint Operation Centres, which would co-ordinate responses to crises, operating 24/7.

“Our disaster management teams, from all 11 District Disaster Management Centres in the province, under the co-ordination of the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, continue to make their presence felt on the ground, in leading disaster relief efforts and conducting assessments of damage,” Hlomuka said.

“As part of these efforts, all municipalities have been directed to alert and, if and when necessary, evacuate communities from all flood-line areas and also from areas that are prone to mudslides and large-scale soil erosion.” He said 16 people had died in KZN as a result of inclement weather since October 25.

“While we are still piecing together our lives, the Disaster Risk Management Centre has received a further notice from the SA Weather Service of adverse weather, which indicates that heavy rain (as much as 150mm or more) and gale-force winds are expected all over the province until this evening.

The expected storms are likely to be coupled with gale-force winds, mudslides, hail storms, and localized flooding. “The intensity of these rains is anticipated to be greater than that experienced in April 2019, during the Easter holidays,” Hlomuka said.

EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said they had learned from the heavy rains of April this year. Since April, they had relocated 1 800 people, who had been evacuated, with only 300 still needed to be relocated. Kaunda said they had identified 11 vulnerable areas from where they had evacuated residents.

He said disaster centres were prepared and their units were integrating their services and being

On Thursday, disaster management teams were dispatched to Mtubatuba, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, after the banks of the uMfolozi River burst, sweeping away three women, but they were rescued safely.

Residents living along the banks of the river were encouraged to move to higher ground as water levels were expected to increase.

Hlomuka and Kaunda said safety was their primary concern.

People should minimize their movements, they should cooperate with emergency services, move somewhere safe if there area is vulnerable and if there is an emergency, they should call 10177 or their district emergency service.

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