Stein Khashane lives and works at Shingwedzi in the Kruger National Park. He was there the night the Shingwedzi River flooded and rose to almost completely cover the camp and staff village. This is the story of his frightening experience waiting for 10 hours to be rescued from the rising waters. There are no photographs as his cellphone was ruined when he had to jump into the water while being rescued.
MY FLOODS EXPERIENCE by Stein Khashane
“I used to see the floods on TV and never thought it could happen to me, BUT IT DID.
On Sunday the 20th Jan 2013, at Shingwedzi living quarters at around 22:00 we heard people who were staying at the tents shouting, “Water everywhere! Floods! Wake up!”. We all woke up and moved to the two structured kitchens, while others moved to the TV Hall. The flood waters kept on rising and people in the TV Hall came and joined us in the kitchen; others panicked and climbed into the trees because it was very bad.
The electricity went off, all the networks went down and there was no more communications with staff members who were at the Rest Camp. The last time we heard from them they said, “The rescue team will come at around 04:30”. The situation at the Rest camp was also very bad.
The whole night we were starving, trembling, thirsty and the children were crying until they ran out of voices. We were standing on the roof structure. The cars, trucks and some of the houses were invisible (completely covered by water). The whole night we were standing in the DARK BROWN DIRTY WATER with live snakes, dead animals, branches and other frightening objects coming past us.
We have lost ALL our belongings; we only left with the clothing that we were wearing that night.
We thank GOD for our lives and that no one lost a child, or his/her life.
We were rescued at around 08:30 (estimating). Unfortunately I lost my pictures on my phone, while I was being rescued, because we had to jump down into the water and my cell phone was in my pocket.”
Note from AboutTheBush.com – I cannot imagine how scary this experience must have been and I too am grateful and thank God that no lives were lost. Well done to the South African National Defense Force, South African Police Services and SANParks helicopters for their immense effort during the floods.
If you would like to help the Shingwedzi staff rebuild their lives, a fund has been set up and any donation would be welcomed. Please see this link for photographs of the extent of the flooding and information on how to donate funds – http://www.wildcard.co.za/blog.htm?action=view-post&id=4174
Related Post: Shingwedzi Staff Rescue – Photos