19 January 2012

South Africa: Families Relocated After Floods in Nkomazi

Malalane — Fourteen families have had to be relocated following heavy rains that lashed Mpumalanga's deep rural Nkomazi area this week.

An assessment by the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) found that 30 houses were damaged in a number of villages south of Malelane.

Most schools were also closed.

Cogta head of department David Mahlobo and Nkomazi mayor Thulisile Khoza helped hand out food parcels and blankets in affected villages such as Tonga, Block A, B, C , Masibekela, Kamaqhekeza, Driekoppies, Mangweni, Steenbok, Naas and Sibange.

"Fourteen families have been affected and needed relocation while 16 families were affected without needing to be relocated. All the affected families will [continue to] be provided with food parcels and blankets," said department spokesman Simphiwe Kunene on Thursday.

He said water treatment plants at Ntunda, Sibange, Langeloop and Masibekela villages were badly damaged.

"After an emergency meeting at the Nkomazi municipality to assess the damage to infrastructure and households, we decided to provide the affected communities with water tankers," said Kunene.

The rain also affected roads in the Nkomazi area, flooding the Driekoppies, Phiva, Dludluma and Komatidraai bridges.

Some roads were strewn with debris and left with potholes.

"(Cogta) will engage the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport and the South African National Roads Agency Limited about repairing the damage," Kunene said.

The department further warned pupils not to try cross overflowing rivers and bridges in a bid to get to school.

"We are urging the communities to move away from river banks and they must avoid crossing full rivers and overflowing bridges. We are also sending a special caution to all learners not to cross full rivers and bridges.

"All road users are urged to be extremely cautious on the roads as they are wet and rocks might have fallen in some areas," he said.

Department MEC Madala Masuku made an appeal to all citizens and business owners to assist affected families.

In the event of possible flooding communities must call the department's disaster toll free number on 0800 202 507.

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