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South Africa Floods Leave Thousands Displaced

FILE- People wade through flood waters in Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal Province Monday, Jan 17, 2022.
FILE- People wade through flood waters in Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal Province Monday, Jan 17, 2022.

South African authorities report that recent floods have left over 1,800 families without shelter and add that Mpumalanga province was among the most affected regions.

South Africa’s national disaster management department Thursday said the eastern province has recorded four deaths and that seven of nine provinces were left devastated by recent floods that pushed President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national state disaster.

Phindile Magugula, the mayor Nkomazi in Mpumalanga, said four people remain missing in her district, where hundreds have been displaced.

“We have almost 1,815 families that are without shelter, some of their homes have been washed away by the rain,” said Magugula.

Magugula added that rescue efforts and food distribution has been difficult in her region because 269 footbridges and 18 big bridges were washed away by the floods.

Kgeta Mothotse, the provincial manager for South Africa’s Red Cross Society said people in the affected regions are in desperate need of psychological support.

“People have lost loved ones and also losing all your belongings and have to start from scratch… affects your mental health,” said Mothotse.

Mothotse’s sentiments were echoed by Mhlabane Mbuso, a resident of Mekemeke.

“Kids, and the bridges are washed away, the houses are wet, our TVs are broken, all that we are left with is hardship,” said Mbuso.

Khanyisile Hlekwa, a 33-year-old resident of Kamhlushwa, one of the affected areas in Mpumalanga, said she thought she was going to die in the floods.

“I thought I was going to die,” said Hlekwa.

“The floods came heavily through the windows at four in the morning. When I tried to call the neighbors for help I realized they were also trapped in their house,” she added.