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Musa Simelane (Communications Assistant)

BIG-BEND – Joy and relief was written on the faces of 40 Cyclone Eloise flood victims when they saw an NDMA truck pull into their residential area Game Five last week Thursday. The truck was filled with lots of ‘goodies’, that is to say household essentials such as mattresses, daily hygiene items like soap and toothpaste, toiletries for women, 25 litre jerry cans, baby diapers, toys and even blankets. The items were so many that no one person could carry it all, especially because on the same day the UNFPA had also partnered with NDMA to donate diapers and 20 litre buckets full of essentials for mothers with small babies. Just two months ago, all was doom and gloom for the Game Five residents after Usuthu River flooded their homes and destroyed their household belongings. The flood was a result of a storm fueled by the tropical cyclone which came from the Indian Ocean through Mozambique. The disaster struck at night when most residents had just gone to bed. It was so sudden that they could only save their lives than anything else. The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) evacuated the affected residents and placed them at Mahlabaneni Primary School as temporary shelter. The agency also provided food aid among other things.

Nomsa Mtsetfwa – one of the survives – said memories of that day were still vivid in her mind, for everything she owned was waterlogged, including her car which she had bought some few months ago. “The damage on my car is the one thing that hurts me the most. I worked hard and saved to buy that car. But I’m hoping that it can still be repaired,” added Mtsetwa. Meanwhile, Simiselwe Mngometulu, a survivor who was heavily pregnant at the time of the flood, said she will never forget the sound of fast moving water crashing into her house. A piercing loud scream of inyandzaleyo (help) outside in the dark brought some chills to her spine. Like Mtsetfwa, she could only save her life and that of her unborn baby by running to safety. “Doctors told me the trauma affected the baby too, but thank God I’ve since given birth successfully,” she said. That said, all the beneficiaries of aid from the NDMA and partners expressed utmost gratitude for being taken care of since the night after the disaster. All have since returned to their once flooded residences with the hope that lighting will not strike twice in one place.