The community of Sane village Natal section, outside Makhado, Limpopo, has been cut off from the rest of the world as heavy rains have swept away the only pedestrian cable bridge linking the village with others.
A sick patient died over the weekend after an ambulance failed to access the village to take him to the hospital as the road has been badly damaged.
It’s still pouring at some parts of Limpopo. Road conditions are in a bad state due to increasing potholes. Some bridges have been swept away.
Sane community spokesperson Edward Murendi says the situation is still dire as vehicles cannot access it and chronic patients also need medication.
The Natal section of Sane village is dived by the overflowing Mufolodzi river. A pedestrian bridge, erected after the main bridge was swept away during floods in the year 2000, has also been washed away.
Residents say they are stranded. “Emergency officers came back the following day. They tried hard to carry the body. They ended up using a cable to carry the body across the river. The situation is bad as people on the other side are stranded. We have chronic patients who need to go to clinics and hospitals to get medication and they are unable to leave the village. The proper bridge was swept away in 2005.”
A community member Tshimangadzo Nesane says the government needs to do something to assist the distressed villagers. Nesane believes that the life of a fellow villager Simon Ratshilumela, who died on Friday evening due to lack of emergency help, could have been saved.
“He died on Friday evening. Paramedics came by the river but could not assist to carry him across the river when he was still alive. He waited for a helicopter for the whole day but that too could not happen. He went back home after six hours he died. He was supposed to cross the flooded Mufongodzi river.”
The bereaved Ratshilumela family spokesperson Azwindini, says they don’t know how they are going to bury their father on Saturday if it continues raining as the mortuary vans cannot access the village.
“The situation is so bad as it is continuing pouring. We don’t even have drinking water. The water pipes were also uprooted. We are unable to cross to buy mealie meal at other villages. He should have been saved if the helicopter was dispatched here. He died in front of our eyes.”
However, Vhembe district municipal spokesperson Moss Shivambu says disaster teams are working hard to access all the affected areas.
“Are experiencing heavy rains under the Vhembe district municipality which have led to bridges, roads, pipelines to be swept away and houses are collapsing but our disaster management teams and other departments are working hard to make sure go back to normal so we request residents to be since well some of the areas are not accessible hence we take time to reach those areas, but all in all we are trying our level best to make sure things are done.”
The Social Development Department has started helping some flood victims in some parts of the Vhembe district.