A village trapped by rain

2014-03-09 14:00

The residents of Mekemeke/Lomshiyo village in Mpumalanga are used to being cut off from the rest of the world.

The village is situated in a mountainous area on the border with Swaziland near Malalane.

The terrain is so rugged that only bakkies can reach the 160 homes on the Barberton Mountainlands.

This week’s torrential rains have made things worse for Mekemeke. Residents’ food and clothes have been destroyed and not even bakkies can reach their homes. Bridges on both sides of the village have been washed away.

Mpumalanga’s department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs was to dispatch its disaster management team on a chopper to take the community food and blankets on Friday. But it shelved the idea because “there was no threat to human lives”.

Resident Glory Mavuso said at least one mud house had been destroyed.

“There is no community hall where people can be accommodated. There’s one unemployed woman here whose house was destroyed.”

The nearest clinic is in Buffelspruit and the nearest shop is in Schoemansdal, both about 20km away.

“Now we have people with chronic diseases who have to walk three hours to reach a clinic. With this rain, they can’t and the children can’t go to school in Buffelspruit.”

More rain is predicted from tomorrow until Thursday.

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