24 January 2013

South Africa: Limpopo Flood Death Toll Rises to 12

The body of an eight-year-old boy who drowned into the Mlumati River in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga has been recovered. The grade three pupil drowned three ... ( Resource: Body of Drowned Boy Recovered in Mpumalanga

Polokwane — Two more bodies of flood victims, including a child, have been found, increasing the death toll as a result of the floods in Limpopo to 12 since last week.

The bodies were found on Wednesday by a search and rescue team comprising police divers, the fire brigade, officials from the Army, the South African Air Force, the Red Cross, the provincial disaster management office and emergency medical services.

Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs spokesperson, Dieketseng Diale, said an elderly man's body was found in Soekmekaar near Tzaneen while the body of a school child was discovered in Giyani.

"This has raised the number of deaths caused by the floods to 12. Department MEC Clifford Motsepe as political head of the provincial disaster management centre expressed his deep sympathy and condolences to affected families," said Diale on Thursday.

Diale said the provincial disaster management centre was ready to handle any eventuality while residents were still urged not to cross flowing rivers and streams.

Limpopo's Vhembe and Mopani districts were the hardest hit by floods following the heavy rains in the past week.

More than 870 people have been rescued from their homes and rooftops around the province following the floods.

"A team from the provincial disaster management centre is currently doing an assessment of the damage caused, and they will prepare a report for the attention of authorities," added Diale.

She said the report would advise the department in terms of what needs to be done.

"All people reported [to be] trapped have been rescued and clean-up operations have commenced," she said.

On Wednesday, Diale explained that the department was already in the process of identifying flood victims who need RDP houses to be built with immediate effect.

An initial assessment shows that more than 700 houses, 19 schools and 42 bridges were cut-off while 14 roads were eroded in the floods.

The floods have also caused damage on several farms, affecting critical infrastructure like communications and electricity.

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

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.

Missing persons should be reported to the nearest police stations.

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