Mudhouse collapses as man lies fast asleep
Residents tell of unspeakable misery in flood-ravaged region
“Mfowethu (my brother), I think I am alive today because God saved me.”
These were words uttered by long-time Green Farms resident Andile Mxinwa on Thursday, four days after he had a near death experience, when his mudhouse collapsed under heavy floods while he was fast asleep.
Dispatch has reported this week that nearly 400 residents in an informal settlement nestled on a hill between Port St Johns and Second Beach, had to be hastily evacuated between Monday and Tuesday, after their homes were flooded following heavy rains which started on Sunday.
They were taken to church halls and the town hall.
The “killer floods” which resulted in many rivers becoming swollen and bridges overflowing across the province, also claimed the lives of four people, two of them in Alfred Nzo district and another in Ngqeleni.
A toddler was also killed in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro after drowning after falling into a ditch while playing.
When the Dispatch visited Green Farms on Thursday, many people were found rummaging through damaged furniture while others were carrying out water-soaked beds into the sun.
Water levels around the informal settlement had also receded, with some people mopping water out of their houses.
But the Dispatch discovered that more than 10 mud homes had been damaged by the floods. Most were built with tree branches plastered with wet mud.
Among those houses was Mxinwa’s house. He said he had been fast asleep when he was awoken by a cold breeze sweeping inside his house.
Fortunately, he was sleeping alone in one of the rooms while his sister was in another room that was not damaged.
“I was not sure whether it was the door that I had forgot to shut or what was happening.
“Next thing, I hear the sound of mud and tree branches falling down and that is when I realised the room was caving in while I was inside,” said Mxinwa.
He said it was around midnight on Sunday night when the incident happen.
On Thursday, he was found dragging freshly-cut branches from a nearby bush to fix his mudhouse, where he has stayed for the past 15 years.However he said he was still at a loss for words as to how he survived “this near-death experience”.Not too far from Mxinwa’s home, 31-year-old Shaun Pearce was sleeping in his flat with his two daughters, Chandre, 5, and Chantay, 3.Since he didn’t have to go to work on Monday as it was Easter Monday, he woke up around 8am, only to find his flat engulfed in water.“The base of the bed was already immersed in water and I believe that had I slept another hour, we would probably have drowned and died,” he added.He said his first thought had been to get his children to safety. The trio fled to Pearce’s home less than 500 metres away only to find it flooded as well.Her mother, siblings and grandchildren, together with Pearce, were among those who were whisked to the town hall by PSJ municipal authorities on Monday.On Thursday, many of those rescued started making their way back to their houses. They were supplied with groceries by municipal bosses.Father of three Sibusiso Fono was away in his home village when three of his mud rooms he rents out to tenants were almost destroyed by floods.Although his home is on higher ground in Green Farms, it was almost destroyed by a mud slide.Funeka Nokwe, who stays with her 14 children and rents out some of her mud flats, was also left counting losses after five of her rooms were destroyed by the floods.At the time of writing on Thursday, the Dispatch had been unable to get in touch with PSJ mayor Nomvuzo Mlombile-Cingo as she was locked in a meeting.But the paper had reported on the same day that Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle, who had conducted a walkabout of Green Farms to assess the extent of the damage on Wednesday afternoon, had promised that government would build proper stormwater drainage systems in and around the informal settlement.Masualle also told journalist that they were waiting for a comprehensive report on the extent of damage which they hoped to receive on Monday...