At 10 pm I heard it – a low sound like thunder, and the earth was shaking. I woke my mother and my child, as I felt something bad was happening. I thought the house might go over sideways but it started sinking down. After finding a way out of the house, I saw a hole opening up in front of us, as deep as a palm tree. The mud was twisting around in it, swallowing my neighbours’ houses.
My 10-year-old son saw a house being swept away with all the family in it. I keep seeing this in my mind. When the earth stopped moving, I ran to assist, pulling people from the mud, but they were all dead. I wish you could read my mind; there are things I saw that I don’t have the words to describe. When I’m around people it’s fine, but when I’m alone it kills me.
The next day, those of us that were left knew that it wasn’t healthy to remain around the mud where our houses had been, and so we came to shelter at Siceluwazi Primary School, and later moved to Ntuzuma ‘A’ Hall where between 200-300 people of all ages have been staying since. My son wasn’t sleeping because of what he witnessed, so I sent him far away from here.
My 74-year-old mother can’t sleep because she keeps hearing the voices and screams of our friends and neighbours on that night. Nobody is sleeping. Everyone is up each night singing until late, even the gogos; gospel songs and traditional songs.
We have food, but what we need is medication. Everyone is coughing. There are old people here who can’t walk. If a medical person would come, they could see what is wrong with them. We need sanitary pads and toilet paper, and we need water. We have two large tanks, but they have been empty all day. It is not only us using the tanks – the entire community is without water.
At 10 pm I heard it – a low sound like thunder, and the earth was shaking. I woke my mother and my child, as I felt something bad was happening. I thought the house might go over sideways but it started sinking down.Nozipho Sithole, flash floods survivor
We must let them take water from these tanks because many people lost everything that night, it is just that they are staying with friends. You find some days the water truck gets halfway up the hill and stops to give water to individuals. So many people arrive with their buckets to take water that the supply is finished before it gets here.
We also need toys for the children, because they are just doing whatever they can to distract themselves; walking around in the mud near the toilets and picking up any old thing. It’s unhealthy. I have to believe that tomorrow will be a better day.