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SOUTH AFRICA: Tornadoes kill two, leave thousands homeless

October 3, 2011 |  6:32 am

REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- The tornado that hit the township of Duduza on Sunday looked like a gigantic snake with huge eyes, one witness said.

Another resident said he thought it was the end of the world, the South African Press Association reported Monday.

An 8-year-old child died and more than 160 people were injured when the twister struck Duduza, about 40 miles east of Johannesburg, destroying dozens of houses, many of them tin shacks, according to the Ekurhuleni municipality.

Another tornado Sunday killed a 9-year-old in a shantytown near the town of Ficksburg in the Free State, 185 miles south of Johannesburg. More than 40 people were hurt and more than 1,000 shacks and houses were flattened.

"I saw the heavens open and I thought that this is Armageddon," Duduza resident Doctor Maseko told SAPA. "I was thrown out of my bed and my electricity blew. Before I knew it, my roof had flown away and I was looking up at the sky.

"Everything is gone. My TV, my furniture."

"It was like a snake with big eyes, and its figure was made from the cloud," said another Duduza resident, Foster Mhlathi. "Now I don't know where to sleep and I don't have anything to eat."

Mondli Gungubele, the mayor of Ekurhuleni, said Monday that Duduza would be declared a disaster zone.


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Photo: Residents salvage items from one of the many houses that were hit by a tornado in Duduza township, east of Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters