Mmegi Online :: Deluge wreaks havoc in Mahalapye
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Last Updated
Wednesday 18 October 2017, 06:00 am.
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Deluge wreaks havoc in Mahalapye

MAHALAPYE: Residents of Mahalapye village in the Central District are still reeling in pain and misery after their houses were destroyed in a fierce storm on Saturday night.
By ONALENNA MODIKWA
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Deluge wreaks havoc in Mahalapye








When a Mmegi team toured the village, it was evident along the streets that disaster had struck in as in almost every homestead, families were busy trying to put things back to normal. Others were pulling away huge broken trees that had now become hindrances, while others were sitting hopelessly without money to replace window panes. Water that had collected in some homesteads was still there by Monday morning when the Mmegi team from Selebi-Phikwe toured the village.

Construction was ongoing in various homes that had managed to secure materials for repairing their destroyed property. Shops and other industrial entities were not spared from the disaster.

Some who were adversely affected were busy picking up remains from their dilapidated houses for storage in government tents that were provided as temporary shelter. At the Rural Administration Centre (RAC) offices, it was evident that officers were among the victims as they did not turn up for work because they were moving some of their property to safer places. Those in offices could not use toilets as there was no water, while electricity was only restored close to lunch hour.

Collapsed power lines were littered everywhere with some still hanging perilously from the destroyed houses. By lunch-time the district office was already overwhelmed with the number of people crying for immediate help at a time when the relevant authorities were locked in a meeting trying to find ways to address the disaster.

Their cases ranged from lack of water since that morning, forcing some villagers to go to work without taking a bath. They came in less than 10 minutes intervals each desperately in need of urgent attention and officers had to refer them back to social welfare officers in their respective wards. Others could be seen walking from shops carrying window panes to fix their broken houses.

Speaking to Mmegi, Oreeditse Sosome, an old woman of Botalaote ward, recalled that the evening started off on a low note as usual without any signs of a storm. She mentioned that the storm started around 8pm and went on for two hours.

"All I could hear was ice being pelted against the windows; it felt like stones were being thrown at the windows. The roof was coming off and I did not want to risk my life by going outside to see what was happening. I was with my granddaughter who has just completed Form Five and we were both scared," she said with fear written all over her face.

Sosome said she had put some bags of cement in the two-and-half-house that was destroyed by the rain, adding that the house is also used for rental.

She pointed out that when disaster struck, the tenant was on a trip and she believes his property must have been damaged.  She explained that it was the first such violent storm hit Mahalapye since she was born. "There was no electricity and water in the village as a result of the rains," she said. The

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corrugated iron sheets from the house could be seen in the yard and the old woman says she does not have the power to lift them up. The social workers and the area councillor are said to have visited the yard to assess the situation and are yet to offer assistance.

The District Disaster Committee has just assisted Maniki Matlhong of Dilaene ward with a tent after his five-roomed house was blown away by the storm. He explained that everything starting from cutlery, clothing, blankets, kitchen units and other pieces of furniture had been destroyed.

Matlhong says he does not know where to start rebuilding because he does not work and had not budgeted to build a new house. He explained that he had to spend the night in the other house that he uses as a storeroom. "I stay alone and the people that you see here are my friends who have come to assist me."

Khutsafalo Sebina of Pharwe ward stays with her family of 10. She said that she had to rescue her mud hut when the going got tough. She said trees and flowers that she had planted in her yard are now history. "The council social workers came to my yard to assess the situation and I am waiting for them to assist me with a tent because I do not have accommodation. I really do not know what to do if I do not get any help," she said, tears welling up in her eyes. Sebina explained that the house nearly collapsed on them and it was by God's grace that they survived.

"We suspected that something might be wrong when we saw the soil starting to peel from the house. We then ran out for our safety," she said.

Mahalapye Show Committee Chairperson, Tsholofelo Oganeditse Nthaga, said the property that the storm has destroyed in the showground is valued at P100, 000. He explained that they were just starting to rehabilitate the ground. He mentioned that the show that they held this year was a success and now the future looks bleak for them. 

Nthaga pleaded with members of the public to come to their rescue so that they can rebuild the ground.

Roofing of all the five buildings at the showground have been blown off and the fence is down.

Mahalapye Cashbuild Manager, Olga Ngwenya said she opened the store from 8am to 6pm to assist residents who were mostly buying window panes. They were forced to open last Sunday as well, just to help those who wanted to buy materials, adding that they even extended business hours. She explained that most windowpanes were shattered in the storm and even her store was flooded. She felt pity for the people, saying it was expensive for them to buy the items that they had not budgeted for. She added that they received a flood of customers because many people in the village had been seriously affected by the storm.

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