Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Raging floods cause havoc in Limpopo

With hundreds of houses and bridges swept away by raging floods - isolating many farming communities - a massive rescue operation got under way yesterday in the Vhembe district of Limpopo.

Two children are still missing after the car in which they, their father and three others were travelling was swept off a bridge between Dongola and the Mapungubwe National Park on Sunday night.

The body of the father was found downstream yesterday morning. The other three occupants were recovering at a Musina hospital, Vhembe district municipality spokesman Matodzi Ralushai said.

About 200 people in farming areas along the banks of the overflowing Limpopo River were cut off when bridges were undermined.

"We have two helicopters, from the defence force and the police, rescuing stranded people," Ralushai said.

"It's a terrible situation we are facing here."

Hardest hit are Makhado, Thulamela and Mutale, where about 170 houses have been washed away.

Ralushai said the biggest problem was providing safe drinking water because water pipes had been damaged.

"From what we are seeing, this is a disaster area," he said.

More than 40 schools were affected as collapsed bridges prevented pupils and teachers from reaching their schools.

Mopani district municipality spokesman Neil Shikwambane said 122 houses were washed away and three people, including two school children on their way home, drowned when they were swept away by an overflowing stream in Sekgosese village in the Greater Letaba area on Wednesday. - Additional reporting by Schalk Mouton

- Times Live

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