From the news desk

Residents take stock of damages

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Residents of the Khuma township near Orkney in the North West, the epicentre of an earthquake that left a trail of mayhem in the province, were still assessing damages on Tuesday.

Sonwabile Klaas arrived home to find her house dislodged from its foundation and an outside room completely destroyed.

“It was though someone lifted my house and pushed it to the side,” Klaas told Sapa.

“The back room was completely destroyed and my house has cracks everywhere.”

Klaas said she was at work when the earthquake hit and immediately called home to check what was happening.

“I was told that houses were destroyed. After hearing that, my thoughts immediately turned to those who work underground in the mines,” she said.

Klaas said she was not sure of what would happen going forward as the house was not suitable for people to stay in.

An aftershock hit Khuma on Tuesday evening.

People gathered outside one of the houses that was destroyed during the quake and screamed as the ground shook.

Emergency personnel who were removing belongings from the house evacuated the yard.

Residents lined the streets of the township to assess the damages to their homes.

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo said earlier that at least 400 houses in the area had been damaged in the 5.5 magnitude earthquake.

“We have heard of 400 houses that have been affected in the area,” he said.

The earthquake was felt in most parts of the country.

Mahumapelo said other parts of the North West were also affected but Khuma was the hardest hit.

“The preliminary report is that the problem is bigger in Matlosana,” he said.

He said he had spoken to the president’s office and they were speaking with experts to see if the country would have the capacity to deal with a larger earthquake if it occurred in the future.

“To be honest, you can never be ready for such a thing. The important thing is to accommodate those affected and it is our responsibility to make sure we assist them.”

Malehlohonolo Mosai, a mother of 10, said she would not risk her life and those of her children by sleeping in their two-bedroom RDP house. The walls of the entire house were cracked and the roof was loose.

“This house us not safe. It is very scary. We can not sleep in here,” she said.

Mosai said the family of 10 would sleep in a one-bedroom shack behind the house.

Describing her ordeal when the quake hit, Mosai said she was in the house with a two-year-old toddler and did not know what to do.

“I felt the house shaking. I grabbed the little one and tried to run outside but bricks fell on top of me. There was dust everywhere in the house and the doors would not open,” she said.

Mosai said she did not know how she was going to repair the house as she was unemployed and relied on state grants for herself and the children. SAPA

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