Flood-ravaged Lephalale takes first steps on road to recovery

2014-03-20 18:14

The water has subsided but life is not back to normal yet for residents of flooded areas around Lephalale.

Some remain displaced, and badly damaged roads are preventing them from accessing their homes.

The mostly farming community of Baviaanshoek outside Lephalale spent the past weekend trying to patch up roads, but the mud and excess water made this a huge challenge.

“One of the businessmen sent in his earthmoving equipment, but they got stuck in the mud. We have also received big slurry pumps to clear the affected areas of mud and excess water,” said resident Gys Grieharber.

“Everything is done by us as the community, but with great assistance from the business community.”

Grieharber said in some cases the extent of the damage still had to be determined.

“Some houses were totally submerged and about 25km of Witkop Road was badly damaged. Fences were destroyed and as a result people will later discover that they have lost livestock and may not be able to find it again,” he said.

Jenny Gouws, who has been running a crisis centre from her house for more than a week in Baviaanshoek, said they were still battling with the roads. After relying on boats to ferry food and fuel supplies from town to the affected communities, Gouws said they were now able to use 4x4 vehicles to traverse the badly damaged roads.

“Some businesses have supplied accommodation in town for children to be able to attend school after a week away, as well as for people who work in town. We’re hoping for the rain to give us a break so people can go back to their homes, count their losses and rebuild their lives,” she said.

Mariaan Wentzel, a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals official in Lephalale, said they had rescued 192 dogs and cats from flooded properties in the past week.

“We still have lots of animals and are waiting for people to come and claim them. We’re going back for more as we believe more dogs, cats and birds were left behind when people fled their flooded homes,” she said.

Limpopo government spokesperson Phuti Seloba said the provincial government was mobilising resources for medium- and long-term intervention in the affected areas.

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