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Heavy rains cause havoc in Mpumalanga

THE Mpumalanga government is offering aid to the areas most affected by heavy rain in the province.

Ntunda, Sibange, Langeloop and Masibekela water treatment plants were extensively damaged by the constant rain.

Water tanks will provide residents with water.

Heavy rain, which has plagued the province since Tuesday evening, caused the Crocodile River to overflow. Many roads and bridges have been damaged . The river flows into parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

The affected bridges in Mpumalanga, Driekoppies, Phiva, Dhludhluma and Komatidraai are underwater and so are certain roads in Naas, Ngwenyeni, Mdzabu, Khombaso and Hoyi.

The Mpumalanga department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs will provide food parcels and blankets to people in the areas hardest hit by the floods.

"Some families had to be relocated because their homes were flooded," spokesman Simphiwe Kunene said.

"Fourteen families have been affected and need relocation, while another 16 families who were affected will not have to be relocated," Kunene said.

The Kruger National Park has also been affected and all gravel roads were closed on Wednesday , South African National Parks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli said.

"Lower Sabie and Skukuza are cut off and precautionary evacuations were carried out on low-lying areas such as staff accommodation and river-view chalets," Thakhuli said.

Meanwhile, communities of Hoedspruit and surrounding areas were adversely affected by the storms and resultant flooding which wreaked havoc, washing away at least two bridges.

Many residents were unable to go to work and schools had to close.

The offices of the Maruleng municipality in Hoedspruit have also been flooded. Most municipal workers yesterday failed to report for work as the overflowing Mohlatsi River made it difficult for them to cross.

Soviet Lekganyane, the coordinator for Limpopo's disaster management unit, said in Phalaborwa that they rescued more than 30 people who had been trapped on a road between two bridges.

"The unit, with the assistance of the police and the South African Defence Force in Hoedspruit, worked very hard to rescue more than 30 people who were trapped," Lekganyane said yesterday.

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