Limpopo disaster unit rescues a man stranded in Letaba River for four days

Published Feb 16, 2023


Johannesburg - The Limpopo provincial Disaster Management unit has successfully rescued a man who had been stranded in the middle of the flooded Letaba River in Tzaneen for four days following heavy rainfalls in the province.

Limpopo Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC, Basikopo Makamu, said: “The man is reported to have been on a makeshift shelter on a tree since Sunday the 12th of February, but because of the recent consistent heavy rainfall in the province the water levels rose, making it difficult for him to cross back to the riverbank.”

The Provincial Search and Rescue Unit worked tirelessly to retrieve him, but efforts were met with many challenges, including injuries to some of the Disaster Management team members due to weather conditions. And more efforts were cut short in the wee hours of Wednesday morning due to the violent current.

“Our Disaster Management members had been collaborating with provincial Saps and SANDF to dispatch a helicopter as the best intervention to get to him safely. We are, however, worried about his well being as we believe he has been without food and water for the past multiple days,” said Makamu.

The MEC has expressed gratitude to the men and women of the Disaster Management Unit for their efforts. The MEC has also further reiterated his plea to residents of areas close to rivers and dams to avoid such masses of water especially during this rainy season.

Two people also drowned in rivers, in separate incidents in the province on Tuesday and their bodies had since been retrieved.

Limpopo is among the provinces that have been placed under the National State of Disaster following the recent above-normal rainfall that has swept across parts of the country.

“We again plead with our people to avoid flooded rivers. We are also aware that some of our people feel obliged to use these pools of water for religious reasons, but considering the clear fatal dangers at hand, we encourage you to postpone these activities,” said the MEC.

The current rainfall is forecast to remain constant during the early part of 2023 in the province.


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