'It was God who saved them' - grandmother after house collapes on kids
Amanda Khoza, News24
Durban – Gogo Thusi Sithole watched in horror as her daughter-in-law pulled one of her four grandchildren from under the rubble after their house collapsed on Monday when storms lashed their area.
But the anxiety gave way to feelings of relief and wonder when the other three kids were also rescued from beneath the debris of what was once their family home.
"It was God who saved them, it was a miracle. I am grateful to God that they survived," said Sithole.
Sithole, 52, said she was at her Roosboom home when at around 15:00, the windows began rattling violently. Scared, she rushed to one of the houses on the yard and sat as the rain poured heavily.
Her four grandchildren and two daughters-in-law were in a second building.
"It started raining hard and there were strong winds. It scared me very much," said Sithole.
Moments later her one daughter-in-law rushed into the house and asked where the children were.
"She looked confused. When my husband Themba looked outside he saw the house they were in had collapsed and saw one of the mother’s trying to pull one of the children from under the rubble. He rushed there to help.
"We later realised that she had escaped the collapse. She didn't see that she had left the others behind."
With Themba, 55, assisting, they managed to rescue the rest of the grandchildren who were trapped under the rubble.
"One child was buried under a headboard with bricks over it, another was under a bed which had fallen on top of him and the fourth survived with just scratches on his face."
Sithole called the ambulance as soon as they managed to free the children.
"When I saw the house that collapsed, I just cried, because I don’t know how they survived it."
She said her family of 11 would have to share her one room house after the damage.
"I am not sure what we are going to do because Christmas day is around the corner and we have no money to build another house. We will share this one until we can build another one," she said.
Ward councillor Themba Ngubane, who visited the family, said he was heartbroken because they lost everything they had bought for Christmas.
"The family told me that they had used some of their grant money to buy the children clothes to wear on Christmas; those clothes were destroyed in the collapse."
200 families affected
Ngubane said the collapse was the third in two months and 200 families had been affected.
"This is a rural area and most of the houses are built with mud so the structures are not strong enough when there are strong winds."
Ngubane pleaded for businessmen and the public to step in to help the families in the community.
"We need the government to build them homes and provide food for some of the families," said Ngubane.
According to paramedics, the children were among 26 people who have been treated from various households around KwaZulu-Natal after they were injured during the storm.
KZN Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Robert McKenzie said on Wednesday paramedics have been inundated with emergency calls after a wave of electrical storms hit the province.
On Tuesday night, a 40-year-old man killed by a lightning strike and 15 people were treated in separate lightning-related incidences in the Umzinyathi district.