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I watched floods take wife, baby

By Katlego Moeng | Jan 27, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A MAN who lost his wife and eight-month-old baby in floods described to Sowetan yesterday his horror as he watched torrents carry the two away from him.

A MAN who lost his wife and eight-month-old baby in floods described to Sowetan yesterday his horror as he watched torrents carry the two away from him.

"I never thought my hell would come in the form of water. I lost everything in these floods," David Ndlovu said.

This incident came as many parts of the country, particularly Gauteng, were flooded after torrential rains over the past few days.

Police in Taung in North West were late yesterday still searching for a teenager who was swept off a bridge while crossing.

Thembisa's Phumulong section was hardest hit, with the Nukeng River bursting its banks and sweeping away shacks.

Ndlovu was asleep with his wife Refiloe and three children when a wall collapsed on to their shack, allowing gushing torrents from the flooded street to overwhelm them.

"It was sudden. My shack fell apart. I grabbed my older children and fought off the water. The water was as high as my chest and it swept away everything that I own.

"I am only left with my identity book and my mattress that I fished out of the river. My furniture and clothing are all gone."

Ekurhuleni Emergency Services senior district manager Lifty Ngoepe said it was apparent that the wall running behind the shack had been holding water and preventing it from flooding the yard.

"As soon as it collapsed disaster struck," he said.

When Ndlovu awoke to his falling home, he grabbed his two older children, one in each hand, and fought against the water.

"I struggled, slipping and falling, trying desperately to hang on to my children. I ran next door for shelter and when I returned for my wife and baby, they were gone.

"There was nothing where my shack once stood," said Ndlovu, hardly able to speak after his trauma.

His wife and baby were swept into the storm water trench and into the Nukeng River.

An Ekurhuleni emergency services team arrived on the scene at about 2am but the search was called off an hour later due to poor visibility.

The search by emergency services, an SAPS dog unit and divers resumed later and ended yesterday afternoon when the baby was found in the reeds on the river bank about 2,7km from his home. The mother was found about 15 minutes later, 50m downstream.

Local councillor Thando Mgaweni said about 60 people would be housed in a nearby municipal building since their homes were flooded. He promised to help bury Refiloe and baby Thabang.

In Ekurhuleni Palmridge phase five, Kuvukiland, Tokoza, Phumula and Klipriver experienced floods. Tom Jones, Voortrekker and Bunyan streets and Gillooly's interchange and the N12 highway were affected by heavy rains.

Mayfield Park residents struggled to enter their homes as streets were flooded. Parts of Soweto also experienced flooding.

Sapa reports that three people trying to cross the Vaal river in a boat got into difficulty, according to police. The boat capsized and the trio were reported missing.

By 4pm, police confirmed that all three were found but that only two survived.

Meanwhile, a man died while three children were missing and are presumed dead after a vehicle was trapped in a flooded subway in the Northern Cape.


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