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Tornado hits JHB, several injured

A tornado has swept through parts of the East Rand, leaving a number of people injured.

Damage caused to a garage in Tembisa this afternoon during a tornado. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - At least 20 people have been injured in Tembisa after a tornado hit the area this afternoon.

Reports say there is substantial damage to property after the twister swept through parts of the East Rand near OR Tambo International Airport.

The Phumulani Mall and number of homes were damaged.

One witness explains, "There is quite a scene. The tornado came past here in Tembisa next to the hospital, and there is a garage close to the hospital and it's caved in. Cars were blown over, people's roofs have flown off."



Security manager at the mall, Godfrey Mashakgomo, says Emergency Services are trying to assist injured shoppers.

"The storm ripped off the roof leaving a number of people injured."



Witnesses also say the roof of a petrol station near the local hospital has caved in.



Emergency Services have been searching through rubble at the mall after a section of the roof collapsed.

This motorist was on the R21 when the tornado hit.

"It was on the ground for about five minutes, moving in a south easterly direction. It was a full blown tornado; you could see the debris track at the base of the tornado as it crossed Bronkhorstspruit Road."

ER24's Werner Vermaak says several people escaped with minor injuries from the structure collapse at the Phumulani centre.

"When various rescue services arrived on the scene they found a chaotic area where numerous structures were lying over the parking lot as well as the side of the mall."



A number of shacks have also been extensively damaged in the area.

Netcare 911's Chris Botha says, "We have reports of several people trapped underneath the rubble."

He says a large rescue operation is underway.

"We've sent multiple units from Netcare 911 as well as fire department and other services have responded to the Tembisa area."

This is the second tornado to hit the province this week, with the first one in Magaliesburg yesterday.

At the same time, three ambulances have also been damaged.



In a statement released this afternoon, The Gauteng Department of Health said the Tembisa Tertiary Hospital has been affected by the tornado.

"The said Tornado has destroyed the hospital's fence, carports, about twenty (20) vehicles belonging to employees, including three ambulances, the roof of one building, and it uprooted some trees."

The Hospital is currently attending to people who were injured at the destroyed Phumlani Mall in Tembisa - about 20 people have been transferred to the hospital.

"We, have dispatched ambulances from neighbouring areas to assist the hospital accordingly."