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JUST IN: CPU rescues two marooned truckers … another villager to spend night on island … food situation deteriorating

Thupeyo Muleya
Beitbridge Bureau

The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) in Beitbridge has rescued and taken to safety two men who spent nine hours marooned on the Mtshabezi River near Siyoka area after their Nisssan truck was swept away while crossing a flooded river early on Friday morning.

The duo had to swim off the truck and climb on two tall trees in the river, where they spent several hours perched before the arrival of the raid response team.

The two men were heading towards Madzivhe area some 100km west of Beitbridge town when the incident occurred.

Another man had to spend the cold night in UMzingwane River in Zezani area after the river got swollen as he attempted to cross at around 6am.
Mr Morris Mhlanga, a villager from the surrounding village said the bridge that links several villages in Beitbridge West and the border town and Gwanda is partially broken.

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“We had to urgently call for help and monitor the two. We were worried the trees would be swept away with water levels continuing to rise,” he said.

“They were taken to safety around 10am and we are now busy working on logistics to rescue another man at Zezani who is stranded on an island.

“At the same time we continue to urge people to avoid entering into water bodies or crossing flooded rivers, either on foot or driving vehicles,” said Mrs Mafu Moyo.

The broken Siyoka bridge before flooding

She said awareness teams were out on the ground educating people on the risks around rainfall related hazards.

Ms Precious Mukwevho of Zezani said the man from Tshamnangana got stranded in uMzingwane River around 7am.

“We are monitoring and him and have notified the relevant authorities to assist,” she said.

The police officer commanding Beitbridge district, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said the police and other stakeholders were still on the ground to rescue the man.

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Villagers from Limpopo, Jalukange, Shashe, Maramani and Toporo are cut off from the town with many bridges and culverts having been swept away by flash floods.

“We have run out of mealie meal at the shops and we can’t restock. Disaster is looming because we can’t get to the town to restock,” said a businesswoman who preferred anonymity.

Mr Jabulani Makhado, a member of the Vhembe development Association (made up of rural people from Beitbridge) said they had since engaged the CPU and the local political leaders over the deteriorating food situation in areas which have been cut off from the urban settlements.

In the town areas, the CPU was by end of yesterday working on logistics to evacuate people from the National Parks camp close to the Limpopo River.

HERALD