9 Dead, 8  Missing As Flood Sweeps Away Worshipers During Church Rituals On River Bank

WORSHIPERS

LAGOS DECEMBER 5TH (NEWSRANGERS)-At least nine people died and eight others were missing in South Africa after a flash flood swept away members of a church congregation along the Jukskei River in Johannesburg, rescue officials said Sunday.

A group of 33 worshippers had joined church rituals on the river banks when the flooding struck on Saturday, said Robert Mulaudzi, spokesman for the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services. 

The dead and missing were all part of the congregation, officials said.

Rescue workers reported finding the bodies of two victims on Saturday and another seven bodies when the search and recovery mission resumed Sunday morning.

The priest who was presiding at the rituals survived.

Religious groups frequently gather along the Jukskei River, which runs past townships such as Alexandra in the east of Johannesburg, for baptisms and ritual cleansing.

Mulaudzi said Sunday that officials had warned residents about the dangers of conducting the rituals along the river.

‘We have been receiving a lot of rain on the city of Johannesburg in the last three months, and most of the river streams are now full,’ Mulaudzi said during a news briefing.

He added: ‘Our residents, especially congregants who normally practice these kinds of rituals, will be tempted to go to these river streams.

‘Our message for them is to exercise caution as and when they conduct these rituals.’

Rescue workers and firefighters are still searching for the missing people, with emergency services indicating the chances of finding them alive are fading.

Sudden surges of water are common in this part of Johannesburg, where storms take place almost every night during the southern summer.

Mulaudzi said people have free access to rivers and practise their religion where they wish, but awareness campaigns need to be intensified ‘to avoid such tragedies’.

Pictured: A rescue worker stands next to a body retrieved from the Jukskei river in Johannesburg on Sunday December 4

He tweeted footage of emergency crews, including a helicopter, preparing to resume the search on Sunday morning.

Mulaudzi also shared a video of rescue teams walking through the river and along the banks in search of the victims.

Victor Ncube, who had been taking part in the church service, told local news station eNCA that he managed to pull five people out of the water who had been swept 100 metres downstream.

Others had been carried too far down the river for him to try to save them, he said.

The Mail

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Posted by on Dec 5 2022. Filed under International, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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