23 January 2013

South Africa: 877 Flood Victims Rescued in Limpopo

Musina — More than 870 people have been rescued from their homes and rooftops following the floods that ravaged parts of Limpopo.

Four helicopters were used to carry out the rescue mission, said the spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Dikeledi Diale.

"More than 877 people were trapped in and around the Vhembe and Mopani districts. Some of these people who were trapped were moved to a higher level," said Diale on Wednesday.

Ten people have been confirmed dead in the floods.

Diale said police divers, the fire brigade and officials from the South African National Defence Force, South African Air force, Red Cross, the provincial disaster management office and emergency medical services (EMS) worked together to assist and search for flood victims.

"Some bridges in all local municipalities under the Vhembe, Mopani and Capricorn districts were flooded while others were totally collapsed, were washed away or left suspended in the middle of the river.

"More than 708 houses, 19 schools and 42 bridges were cut off and 14 roads were eroded. Livelihoods were severely affected by the floods," Diale said.

She said 334 people who were trapped at Pontdrift border gate between Limpopo and Botswana.

She said several farms and critical infrastructure like communications and electricity have been affected.

The process to identify those who need RDP houses to be built with immediate effect has begun.

The department has also applied for a state of disaster to be declared in the province.

Meanwhile, members of the public are urged to report disaster incidents to their district offices or the Provincial Disaster Management Centre on the toll free number 0800 222 111.

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