Heavy rains and floods have caused devastation in the last two weeks in Limpopo’s Vhembe District, leaving six dead. Among the fatalities was Jane Ramalisa, 37, who drowned while crossing a low-lying bridge. Her car was swept away by the overflowing Mudzinga River at Tshedza Village near Thohoyandou earlier this week.
The Limpopo SAPS have opened an inquest docket. Spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo said: “It is believed the deceased, a resident of Vuvha village, had in the early hours of Monday taken her child to Tshedza main road in order for her to catch other transport to school,”
“On her way back, she found that the Mudzinga River, which crosses Tshedza village, was flooded. She apparently attempted to cross but her vehicle was swept away,” said Mojapelo.
Mojapelo added that the incident was seen by passengers in a sand truck who were some distance away. They notified the police.
Last week, the maternity ward at Siloam Hospital near Thohoyandou was flooded.The South African Weather Service (Saws) has warned of flooding of vulnerable formal and informal settlements, roads in low-lying areas and bridges in Thohoyandou, Malamulele and Musina.
“Dirt roads and tar roads may be damaged, and low bridges may be flooded. Localised mudslides may also take place,” the Saws said.
Pictures and videos of collapsed bridges and cars being swept away have been doing the rounds on social media as the rain continues to devastate the province. The weather service issued a level 6 warning earlier this week.
“Low-lying areas, roads and bridges will be flooded, and can be damaged due to the quick run-off (of water) which may result in road closures. Difficult driving conditions may be experienced. Damage to property and livelihoods may also occur,” Saws said.
Mojapelo warned motorists to be wary of crossing rivers, the low bridges of which are covered with water as it is almost impossible to gauge the depth of the water.