The recent heavy rains in the Northern Cape have left a trail of disaster. Infrastructure and roads have been badly affected. However, communities were hit the hardest.
Their houses were flooded and most areas inaccessible. The province has been declared a state of disaster.
One of the areas severely affected is Kuruman. For years the Northern Cape suffered through a drought. This time a trail of destruction with heavy rains.
Humanitarian aid has been given to seven inaccessible villages in the Kuruman area.
Stacks of food parcels have been loaded on a helicopter to distribute.
Sixty-year-old Lena Arries, who resides with her eight family members, says they can’t reach town.
“I don’t know how many days we didn’t reach the town. It was Saturday or Sunday, we took a risk with my brothers. We took all these families because in their house there is no food, kids are crying. We went from house to house asking for mealie meal or milk. Our cows, our goats they are not coming home because of the rain around the area.”
This is the worst floods since 1974 for the area.
Northern Cape requires about R600 million to repair damages caused by heavy rains:
Another resident, Adelaide Tjale, says, “Fortunately, when we came here we just saw the helicopter dropping down food, because when I got here I found that here are the people from the SABC. And here is the food, which means our community is going to have something.”
With little resources at its disposal, the local municipality drafted proposals.
Joe Morolong Municipal Mayor, Dineo Leutlwetse, says, “We are custodians of service delivery and local municipality. You would understand as a municipality, we rely mostly on the provincial government to assist us with resources, hence we made proposals to different departments. We have sent out three business plans, like the district mayor indicated, that outline the plans that we are having as a municipality.”
The Humanitarian Organisation, Gift of the Givers, made a call for social relief and more assistance is expected.
Gift of the Givers’ Ali Sablay says, “We are engaging further with the premier’s office and the local municipality here to see what other urgent assistance we can provide for the villages. As we speak, they have requested more food parcels our trucks are loading at the moment in Pietermaritzburg, and again we can try to activate urgent food aid to the residents as soon as possible.”
Over R600 million is needed to save the situation.
Officials are still assessing the extent of the damage, but say the major concern is the reopening of schools on Monday.