Some residents of Jagersfontein in the Free State are saving their meager belongings after their homes were damaged by mud from a collapsing mine dam on Sunday.

Dozens of displaced residents found shelter in a local church. Learning and teaching have been affected in disaster-stricken areas with several roads inaccessible due to silt from a collapsed mine dam.

Residents of Jagersfontein continue to sort out what happened after the disaster. Some say they are relieved to have escaped unharmed.

One of the distraught residents, Mpoi Nthaitsane, claims that the family’s home and farming implements were washed away, among other things.

“What we can explain at the moment is that we lost the vehicle, we lost pretty much everything we had, the garage, the whole garage is gone. Parts of the house are also gone. So I lost my husbandry tools and I lost my inventory tools too. There’s no account, our clothes are everything, literally nothing, so we just went back to try and see what he had that we could salvage.’

Communities affected by the dam breach continue to receive humanitarian aid:

A helping hand

Aid organization Gift of the Givers is expected to spend a week in the area to help with relief efforts. The organization’s relief coordinator, Koren Conradi, says they will provide food and clothing, including animal feed.

“And in this way, we will provide food for these families, as well as the clothes they need, because everything has been washed under the mud. So we will also provide clothes. In addition to communities, there will be an aspect of families. This is the biggest humanitarian crisis at the moment. Since the sheep cannot eat, the grass or anything from the ground has been infected. So we are looking at food security and the farmers have called us to help them,” Konradi said.

The South African Red Cross Society is also ready to help the affected communities.

Provincial manager Claudia Mangwegape says: “At the moment we have identified their needs for blankets, mattresses, clothes as well as water. So, we try to help as much as we can, so we brought all the necessary things. We will work with other NGOs close to the Department of Social Development and other partners.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa applauded the people of Jagersfontein for how they dealt with the disaster when a mine dam burst on Sunday.

Ramaphosa appealed to residents not to lose hope as the government does everything in its power to restore the dignity of the people. Ramaphosa told the affected residents that the government would work tirelessly to rebuild the destroyed homes.

“We are here to come and help, to promise support and help to the people of Jagersfontein. So we’re grateful for that, so eventually you’ll have three levels of government, you’ll have a national government, as you can see, we’re here. You will have a provincial government, they immediately went into action. I was very impressed with Mrs Ntambela as she acted quickly with her MEC,” said Ramaphosa.

An interdisciplinary investigation is underway to find out the causes of the disaster.

Video – At least 20 people in hospital after mine dam burst in Jagersfontein, Free State:

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