Last updated on May 17th, 2017 at 01:14 pm
About 30 people have been airlifted to safety in Hoedspruit in Limpopo after the region was flooded.
“The bridge between the air force base and the town has been washed away, and several roads are impassable,” air force spokesman Pete Paxton told the broadcaster.
“There is a lot of water and many areas have flooded after heavy rainfalls over the past two days, but especially yesterday. We then embarked on search and rescue operations with helicopters and we rescued about 30 people from either islands, treetops, or the roofs of houses. We evacuated them to safety in the air force base in Hoedspruit,” said Paxton.
According to a report in TimesLive yesterday (18 January), “flooding across the Kruger National Park and parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo forced authorities to close some of the gates to the park and evacuate stranded guests. About 50 pupils in the Bushbuckridge area had to be rescued by military helicopters after their route home was blocked. More rain is expected to fall in the area today.”
Kruger National Park spokesman William Mabasa said the park had experienced heavy rains, affecting roads in the area.
“The most important thing is to avoid all gravel roads in the Kruger National Park”
“We have issued a statement this morning to warn people about the water situation. Crocodile Bridge is closed because the bridge is overflowing. We have closed Phalaborwa Gate as well, and bridges leading to Letaba and Mopani camps are overflowing at this stage.”
Visitors to the park should contact the public relations office to ask about the condition of the roads they intended using.
Mpumalanga community safety department spokesman Joseph Mabuza said drivers should be extremely careful.
“We have received reports that some of the bridges have been affected by rains, so we request all road users to be cautious when using the roads. If a driver sees water on a bridge or near a bridge that is partially submerged, we request they assess the situation, whether it is safe to cross, and if there is any doubt, they must not use the bridge, but rather find an alternative route.”
Mabuza said heavy rains often created pot holes, which led to accidents as drivers tried to avoid them
SA Weather Service senior forecaster William Msimanga said the strong downpours had been caused by the sub-tropical depression Banbo, the fourth of the season.
“We are still issuing a warning for persistent heavy falls in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo for the rest of this afternoon and tonight [Wednesday],” he said.
Over the past 48 hours, 109mm of rain was recorded around Mbombela, 139mm around Skukuza, and 270,9mm around Hoedspruit.
About 170mm was recorded to have fallen around Phalaborwa over the last 24 hours.