CRASH: A tree ruined the roof an elderly couple’s home in Grabouw.
An elderly couple say they have been living like squatters in their own house after a massive tree fell on it.

The tree destroyed their garage, and damaged a car and the entire roof of their house.

The pensioners have now covered their roof with black plastic sheeting, held in place with bricks, and sleep on mattresses in their lounge, with buckets placed all over their house to catch the falling rain.

The huge pine tree belonged to a crèche next to their house.

Hendrik “Henkie” Clarke, 64, says the incident happened on April 22, when the combination of a spring tide and full moon causes unusual storms in the Cape.

Henkie says he first thought there was an earthquake when the moerse boom crashed onto their house in Gaffley Street, Grabouw.

“But when I looked out I saw the huge tree lying across my garage and the roof of my house,” he recalls.

The tree’s branches completely covered their large house, and crushed the walls of the garage, damaging a relative’s car.

“The windscreen and windows were smashed, branches poked through the car’s roof and windows and there were even bricks inside the car,” says Henkie.

The retired man says his garage will have to be demolished and built from the ground again.

Dis heeltemal in sy maai,” he sighs despondently.

To make matters worse, tikkoppe in the area started looting the garage, taking light fittings and dakplate.

Inside the house, rooms were flooded as rain poured through holes in the roof.

“We had to take out the carpets because it started smelling,” says Henkie.

Looking at her house, his wife Carol, 64, adds: “It looks like a squatter camp.”

Henkie says staff of Kabouterland Crèche removed the fallen tree the day after it was uprooted.

Stanley Shuma, head of Child Welfare Grabouw who are in charge of the crèche, says they are waiting on their insurance to repair the damage.

“They have indicated that an assessor will be sent out soon,” explains Shuma.

Anyone who wishes to assist the Clarke family can contact Carol on 079 620 0496.