Couple, baby climb tree to flee floods

2013-01-23 09:01

Polokwane - A couple and their 3-week-old baby spent a whole day in a tree after they were trapped by rising floodwaters in Limpopo.

Xander Mokwena, 43, his wife Sakhile Tlou, 33, and baby Hawelo saw the water rising at their home on a farm near Pontdrift on Sunday, reported Volksblad.

When the water started flooding their home and reached hip height, Mokwena knew they had to flee.

"We ran away from the water and climbed in a tree,” he said. “We sat in the tree for a day before the helicopters came to rescue us. The baby didn’t cry. She just slept peacefully.”

About 60 farmworkers were airlifted to safety from the farm. Some of them had climbed trees and farm implements, while others fled to nearby mountains. Cattle and goats were swept away, and they were nervous of hippos, he said.

10 deaths

At least 10 people have died in the Limpopo floods since last week and large parts of the province are still cut off from the outside world.

Co-operative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs department spokesperson Dieketseng Diale told Beeld that rescue services were searching for the bodies of two children in the Musina area, while six people had died in the Vhembe district and four in the Mopani district.

Air force and emergency service helicopters were being used to rescue people from some settlements. Limpopo emergency services have rescued more than 300 people from flooded areas since Tuesday.

Meanwhile, around 95 people have been rescued from the Kruger National Park. 

Border posts with Zimbabwe and Botswana are also closed.

AgriSA's Theo de Jager, who has a farm in the Tzaneen district, said the flood damage is severe, but not as bad as the floods in 2000, when the rainfall was about 300mm more.

The rain has stopped and dry weather is forecast for the next two days.

  • leeyakath.abbubaker - 2013-01-23 09:16

    the citizens of limpopo just cant get a break hey...

      truthis.tway - 2013-01-23 10:09

      The flooding is harsh and beyond people's control, the other issues however can be fixed at the polls.

      guru100 - 2013-01-23 10:47

      @Truthis: if we gonna wait for the polls, it's gonna be a long wait because people are still thinking of the past. the challenge is: how do we switch people from that mode(thinking of the past) and open their eyes to look forward. we can't leave it only to HZ and the DA. we must stand up and help them

  • ayanda.d.sokhela - 2013-01-23 09:40

    Whats up with this Limpopo province? Are things really that bad up there?

      truthis.tway - 2013-01-23 10:10

      The flooding is harsh and beyond people's control, the other issues however can be fixed at the polls.

      dmitri.dumas.9 - 2013-01-23 10:23

      @ayanda. No, there is no droughts or flooding, poverty etc. Don't believe the news posted by agents :)

  • Pomster - 2013-01-23 10:24

    Vote for me to go to space :D

  • Yandisa Rwaai - 2013-01-23 11:29

    This blumin flooding in the Limpopo and such a high death toll its probably the ANC or this Zuma. He could've stopped if he had not built his Nkandla compound...

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