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AS THE storm raged outside, Sophie Mzimba heard a voice telling her to get up from her hiding place under the bed and run.

And she was barely outside when the walls of her house collapsed under the strain of the powerful wind!

The 54-year-old from Kwazibukwane, near Malelane in Mpumalanga, was one of hundreds of residents who found themselves picking up the pieces of their damaged homes following a freak storm on Saturday.

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Schools, hospitals and clinics were also affected.

“When it began, I knew it wasn’t an ordinary storm. Lightning lit up the dark sky and a strong wind shook our homes. I went to hide under my bed, praying the storm would pass without causing damage,” said Sophie.

As the strong winds began levelling trees and ripping the roofs off houses, hail came pounding down. That was when Sophie heard the deep voice.

“It called me by name and I didn’t ask any questions. Could it have been God speaking to me?”

Meanwhile, health department spokesman Dumisani Malamule said a hospital and four clinics were damaged and it would cost about R40 million to fix them.

“Shongwe Hospital was the hardest hit, with the labour and paediatric wards being damaged. We also lost the kitchen, theatre, linen, fencing and the pharmacy.”

Nkomazi municipal spokesman Cyril Ripinga said eight houses collapsed and 104 had lost their roofs.

“At least three people were injured and one death was reported. We are working on relief measures such as food parcels, gas stoves and blankets.

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