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June 15, 2024
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Tornadoes Devastate South Africa, Leaving at Least 11 Dead

At least 11 people have died and more than 50 others are injured after tornadoes tore through parts of South Africa’s coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, authorities said.

The devastating storms caused major damage, particularly in the town of Tongaat, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, where footage from ravaged neighborhoods showed debris from dozens of wrecked homes.

“The damage is quite huge,” said Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, noting that the casualty numbers could rise.

The South African Weather Service confirmed that at least two tornadoes struck the province on Monday afternoon, causing “significant damage.”

“The first tornado occurred between Newcastle and Utrecht over the western interior of KwaZulu-Natal,” it said in a statement Tuesday.

A larger tornado developed later around Tongaat and moved east to the coast near Westbrook and Ballito, where it caused further destruction.

The provincial government stated that temporary shelters have been provided for families displaced by the storms and that those injured are receiving treatment in hospitals.

“South Africa does experience tornadoes from time to time,” the weather service explained, especially “when large and intense weather systems affect the country.”

KwaZulu-Natal has a history of extreme weather conditions that has caused multiple casualties.

In 2022, more than 300 people were killed in the province after heavy rains caused severe flooding, damaging homes and roads in what provincial authorities described as “one of the worst weather storms” in South Africa’s history.

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