Floods ravage Limpopo community

2013-01-22 15:49
Heavy flooding has ravaged the farming community along the Limpopo River (Elana Treu-Viljoen, Supplied)

Heavy flooding has ravaged the farming community along the Limpopo River (Elana Treu-Viljoen, Supplied)

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Cape Town - Heavy flooding has ravaged a farming community along the Limpopo River, causing eight fatalities, washing houses away and causing a bridge to collapse.

Elana Treu-Viljoen, a resident from Tshikondeni, says many people have lost their houses and are now occupying churches and schools.

“These buildings are filling up and people have nowhere to go,” she told News24.

“The problem is that this area is so far north and has not been reached by disaster relief efforts,” she said.

Vhembe District Municipality spokesperson, Matodzi Ralushi, said the bridge linking Musina to Pontdrift collapsed.

“A car carrying six people was swept away by water,” Ralushi told News24. He confirmed that three survived, two are missing, and one person died.

Three children were killed when rain caused their home to collapse and another three people died when lightning struck their houses during thunderstorms on Saturday morning.

‘Water coming out of the ground’


Eight deaths have been confirmed since the flood began earlier this week.

Ralushi said 150 families have been displaced and that the roads linking to clinics have been damaged, hampering healthcare efforts.

Rains have since stopped and water levels have dropped in some areas. Most areas however, have reached infiltration capacity and “water is coming out of the ground”, Viljoen explained.

On Sunday disaster relief operations were suspended at night and resumed on Monday morning. Residents stood atop rooftops and mountains to escape the current.

A Limpopo coal mine, Coal of Africa Limited, had to halt its operations due to the floods. The mine site recorded 500mm rainfall in the past five days compared to the 450mm which it receives in a normal rainfall year.

The Kruger National Park also initiated an emergency effort to evacuate staff and tourists after torrential rains threatened safety at certain camps.

SA Weather Services forecaster, Vanepia Phakula, predicted there would be no rain for the next three to four days.

“For the next seven days we are not expecting anything heavy or significant,” she told News24.

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