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Ficksburg tornado: Red Cross steps in

03 October 2011, 16:03

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Bloemfontein - The SA Red Cross (SARCS) was assisting Ficksburg residents on Monday after a tornado hit the eastern Free State town, an official said.

"SARCS is conducting assessments and providing assistance to those in need," spokesperson Mamojela Mafa said.

A nine-year-old boy was killed in the town early on Monday when the wall of his house collapsed on him during the storm, police spokespersonCaptain Phumelelo Dlamini said.

The tornado hit around 02:00 and destroyed Jama Mokhekhe's house, seriously injuring other members of his family. Another 42 people were injured and 122 RDP houses and shacks in the area destroyed.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Bethlehem and Bloemfontein.

Tornadoes in spring and summer were not uncommon, said SA Weather Service forecaster Puseletso Mofokeng.

"It happens from time to time. Over the past three years it has happened on a yearly basis."

He said some of these tornadoes set down in unpopulated areas.

"It's only when they reach cities that we notice them."

Mofokeng said tornadoes were more common in the central Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State than in other provinces.

He said small low pressure systems known as mesocyclones caused severe storms, which could result in tornadoes.



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