21 January 2014

South Africa: Limpopo Community Recovers After Heavy Rain

Residents from Vhembe District's Gundani village are struggling to recover after heavy December rains left some injured or homeless.

Elvis Mathule was returning early one evening from buying bread at the local spaza shop when gusty winds sent a piece of zinc sheeting hurtling towards him from the roof of a nearby house.

"I heard a sound of something like an airplane coming towards me - it was zinc from someone's house coming straight towards me," he told OurHealth. "I tried to run but it was too late."

"When the zinc reached me, I was already on the ground and it landed on my legs and the wood from the zinc got stuck in my leg," added Mathule, who was taken to nearby Matavhela Clinic.

Matavhela Clinic staff confirmed that Mathule was just one of several people treated for injuries related to the severe weather. Some patients with more severe wounds were transferred to the local hospital.

Strong winds and rain also left some like Mukondi Nemavhola and Jerry Nethononda homeless and, as of late December, were living with other families in a primary school classroom.

"Most of our belongings have been damaged with the rain," Nemavhola said. "We just thank God that we have somewhere to stay at the moment."

Jerry Nethononda lives alone with his two sons. He was asleep when wind tore off his roof.

"I was asleep when I heard a loud sound like someone was running on my roof," Nethononda recalled. "The roof was taken right off and the rocks on top started to fall inside the house."

"Luckily no one got injured, but we've been left without a roof over our heads," Nethononda told OurHealth.

Ward Councillor Sylvia Thambathsira said the municipality was doing its best to help the villagers affected by the weather.

"As for those who were left homeless, we are giving them blankets and food to survive for the moment until we are able to help them all to repair their houses," she said.

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