Child swept out of her father’s arms in floods in South Africa
By Elizabeth Haber
JOHANNESBURG — Flash floods in Alexandria have caused (three-year-old) Everite Chauke, to be ripped out of her father’s arms while he tried to bring them to safety as the branch he was gripping onto snapped.
The Jukskei River engulfed the home of the Chauke’s forcing them to climb a tree for safety. However, Everite was swept away by the raging current. Times Live spoke with her devastated father, Shadrick “She disappeared and I screamed to my wife and neighbors to try and save her‚ but the water was very strong and flowing very fast‚” said Chauke.
“It was raining hard and it was almost dark and neighbors were also trying to save their possessions and their lives. Nobody paid attention to what was happening to my daughter‚” he said.
Resident, Musa Mabolo, lost all of her possessions when the floodwaters swept through the township of Alexandra.
The acting (Premier) of Gauteng Paul Mashatile visited with the Chauke family and consoled them as their hopes of seeing Everite again are fading. Mashatile, is also overseeing that these residents are relocated to higher ground for the time being.
The City of Johannesburg had previously paved large sections of the river’s bank in an effort to discourage people from erecting shacks there. However, their actions had gone ignored.
According to Times Live, Ms. Emily Thomas‚ from Gift of the Givers‚ the aid organization which delivered tents and food in the area on Thursday, said the banks of the Jukskei were a recurring problem during rainy periods.
Everite is one of many victims to have gone missing during the floods Thursday evening. Two deaths were reported in Linksfield by the City of Ekhurleni, as well as a man who drowned in Ravensklip and a person struck by lightning in Tembisa.
Fears of continued floods increases as thunderstorms are forecasted for at least the next week.
eNCA has reported that the city of Johannesburg has asked residents to report issues related to the floods tweeting, “Please report all Flash Floods related incidents to the JMPD or SAPS, on the City of Johannesburg’s call center number: 0860JOBURG (562874)”
Motorists have exercised heroics such as truck driver, Vuyani Dindiswayo, and his colleague Lucas Bota who pulled stranded motorists onto the back of their flatbed tractor trailer. They have been credited for saving over (20) motorists, as reported by Times Live.
The 31-year-old from Cape Town said, “I just looked at these people suffering and I said to myself‚ ‘if I am to die trying to help these people‚ then so be it’. But I knew God is with me‚ so nothing would happen to me.”
“He [Bota] took out ropes from his truck and I did the same. We jumped straight into the water — which was close to my stomach level — and then we took the two ropes and put them together and tied each other to the trucks so we didn’t get swept away‚” Dindiswayo said.
Another hero, Bianca Lee Bird had performed CPR on a motorist who had been trapped in her car. “I rushed to her car and she was also trying to rescue herself. We got her out and we took her to the truck after one woman helped her with CPR. She was not as fortunate as she died,” Didiswayo said.
Bird, from Germiston, said, “I thank God for giving me the strength to not run away but help the people and save as many people as we could save and get the people who were shocked‚ to help other people.”
Bird and Didiswayo, are not the only to have exercised heroics. Photogrphs are popping up all over social media of men who made human chains to save motorists from two stranded taxis.
Johannesburg was crippled as flights were being diverted due to flooding of the airport and the highways. Over a hundred cars on the N3 were swept away by floodwater into embankments.
South Africa had been experiencing a drought, so the grounds could not absorb the immense amounts of water quickly enough to avoid the present devastation.
Damage has also occurred at the Bedford Centre Mall as the roof of the gym, Planet Fitness caved in. No one was injured.