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Accommodation Direct Award

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20th January 2013 - Bende Mutale Rescue Mission

During recent floods, an exciting turn of events took place in Bende Mutale. Sari Landman, a woman who has been part of the village for a good six years, was stranded at her riverside home. The river had risen to extreme heights overnight after extensive rains and a flow of water from the ground had formed its own river the other side of her house. After being advised to climb the largest tree, Sari had climbed on top of her house hoping that it would not be washed away by the rising water. As soon as the people of Bende Mutale were aware of her troubles a rescue party formed.

Quickly a team had assembled to help and a rope was tied around Martin Fouche camp manager of Pafuri River Camp, and the strongest looking tree stump so he could assess the flow of the water. By this time, Thomas Takadzani a man who also resides in Bende Mutale, had bravely jumped into the water in the hopes of swimming across to help Sari. Never before has anyone seen a man swim with such strength across raging waters. He arrived on her bank safely and began preparing a 100m pipe to send across to meet Martin, who was now half way across the water secured by a rope and perched on a tree. By joining the pipe and the rope the team had made a line across the water that could be held onto to prevent being washed away by the current. Another group of men also swam across to help keep Sari secure against the line so that she didn’t fall. Taking it step by step Sari entered the water and began her journey across. Many of the people from the village had gathered and held the rope up as high as possible, as the flow was so strong that if the rope touched the water it could pull the group underneath. After arriving on the bank Sari had said if it wasn’t for the strength of the men there she wouldn’t have been able to move due to the force of the water. Only once she took their shoulders could they pull as she floated through.

Amazingly in high spirits, Sari retired to Pafuri River Camp for a much needed cup of tea and now is staying with friends, Mike Hawkins ( relief manager Pafuri River Camp), in the village ,whilst plans can be made to repair damages to her house. A very brave woman and brilliant group of people are the only way the rescue would have been possible.