Two confirmed fatalities in Mpumalanga’s torrential rains and floods
The Mpumalanga department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs on Monday confirmed that two people had died as a result of the torrential rains and flooding in the province.
The heavy rains have affected several provinces and caused massive damage in some areas.
Cogta has called for communities to be cautious as the search continues for at least four other people who have been recorded missing.
Provincial department spokesperson Lindiwe Msibi said the province continues to assess flood damage.
“The province is continually communicating flood awareness messages to the public using different communication channels/methods. Daily meetings are held to keep every stakeholder informed,” she said.
She said some infrastructure damage has been recorded in Mbombela.
“Our disaster management team are on the ground assessing the damage,” she said.
The department is also availing structures to be used as temporary shelters, while the department of human settlement is assessing the damage so that relevant assistance is provided.
“Social relief materials such as food parcels, mattresses, blankets, gel stoves and tarpaulins were distributed using the chopper, since most of the villages are inaccessible,” she said.
In one of the villages, Mkhuhlu, in Bushbuckridge municipality, residents reconstructed a damaged bridge on Monday morning to help pupils cross to schools.
One resident, Surprise Kubayi, said it was a disaster in the area.
“We don’t have tarred roads in this municipality, most of them are eroded and many parts of the municipality are affected,” he said.
Cogta national department said in a statement that the national disaster management centre (NDMC) is in contact with provincial and local disaster management centres on the ground and co-ordinating with all the role players as the heavy downpours continue.
“The disaster teams will continue to monitor the situation and give support. Due to the heavy downpours, many areas are flooded, rivers are overflowing across a number of provinces, people have lost property and infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, are also damaged,” it said.
Kruger National Park management temporarily closed some of the park's remote camps and evacuated staff members to safer camps as various parts of the park are expected to receive more rain in the week of February 13 to 17.
“As a precautionary measure, gravel roads and remote camps have been temporarily closed, including those used to evacuate guests from Lower Sabie, Biyamiti and Crocodile Bridge out of the KNP yesterday. Closures are necessary to ensure everybody’s safety and we advise guests to stick to the tar roads while driving inside the park. A disaster management team is in motion and periodical updates will be released until the situation improves,” said the park's managing executive, Oscar Mthimkhulu.
He said tar roads are open though the teams had to temporarily close some for a short period on Sunday (the route between Pretoriuskop and Skukuza and between Malelane and Skukuza) for guests’ safety, but these were reopened as soon as flash floods stopped.
Skukuza Airport is operating but advises passengers to contact their lodges to get information before flying.
The airport is processing passengers to and from the airport via Shelati Bridge, and all transfer companies, lodge representatives, and car hire should pick up and drop off at the Skukuza day visitors' site adjacent to the train/bridge because the Sabie low-level bridge is flooded.
The status of camps and roads in the park:
- Gravel roads in the south remain closed.
- All tar roads in the park are open; except the main road between Skukuza and Lower Sabie.
- Talamati Bush Camp is closed.
- Balule is closed.
- Biyamiti Bush Camp closed.
- Sable Hide closed.
- Shimuwini, Bateleur and Sirheni Bush Camps are open.
- All rest camps are operational except Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie.
- All entrance gates except Crocodile Bridge are open.
“Honorary rangers and KNP roads teams continue to clear debris on the bridges and anywhere else when necessary. We advise guests to avoid all roads with No Entry signs or blocked with other objects, said Mthimkhulu.
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