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Skukuza 2000 Floods
Kruger National Park,
South Africa
My Net Hangouts
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Flooding of Nwaswitshaka Research Camp
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This profile reports on the Skukuza 2000 Floods from a personal perspective; the author was at the Research Camp in a waterfront residence, which was flooded by the Nwaswitshaka River and filled to almost 2 m above floor level

I have tried documenting the historic events leading up to, during, and just after the Skukuza Floods.... Here is some advice on how to keep your head through disasters such as these.

  Meteorological events
7 Feb. Most severe flooding of Skukuza (and elsewhere) in five decades due to a tropical low pressure system
12 Feb. Aftermath spate of waters and renewed threats of further disruption
21 Feb. Threat of Cyclone Eline; never hit Skukuza in full force, but weakened over the interior moving north-westwards and causing havoc in the northern KNP (and elsewhere) on 24 Feb.

Evacuation and property assurance
I'm not prepared to take myself through these events again - not soon anyway... So my advice would be to learn from experience: evacuate sooner than later. But don't throw away those muddied computer stiffies! (TX to everyone who found mine.)

DATA RECOVERY (from 3.5" floppy disks)
If you didn't have network/mainframe/internet/CD space for backup storage, your hard drive conked in, and your backup disks got wet, here's what to do:

Rinse the stiffies in soap water and subsequently in fresh water. You can sun or oven-dry (risky) them and let Windows have a try - perhaps you're successful. In my case data was illegible - in fact, Windows kept prompting for formatting.

First, remove the slider. Mine was metal, so I lifted (bent) the two tiny clips, which run in the gutter at the back, and shifted the slider out top-ways. (Be careful of the spring - not to lose it.) Dismantle (actually force open/split) the two plastic halves of the diskette using a knife to expose the floppy inside. (Take care not to cut or scratch the floppy.) Wash the floppy on both sides under clean, running tap water, wiping it with tissue towel in the stream of water. Dry the floppy by gently wiping with glasses cloth. (Dry tissue paper may scratch the surface.) Wind-dry the factory-fitted tissue linings (don't detach) inside the plastic halves or dab with towel.

Cut one millimetre off one of the bent ends of the spring using small side cutters. If you don't do this, the halves won't close properly in the corner again. Check which half has the spring bed and lay the spring. Also insert the clean, dry floppy appropriately. Put droplets of non-tacky glue (you don't want strands of glue on the floppy!) in the plastic sockets, where the other side's pins have to insert into. Assemble while watching the spring. Slip the slider over and bend the clips close in order to smoothly run in the gutter (posteriorly). It won't work properly, but you just want it to work a few times until you got the data off. Additionally, tape some of the diskette's edges to ensure that the halves don't crack open inside the drive; you don't want that damage, too.

'Fooling' Windows
Now you're ready to rock with Windows 9X. It may prompt you for formatting. You can yes its prompt, but don't choose quick (erase) or full options! The more the floppy rotates in the drive, the more legible it becomes. You can try this several times from within Windows Explorer. In my case, to right-click on floppy A and then select properties 'made' the data (or most of it) legible. I then zipped the data off onto a sound hard disk. In this way, each file's integrity was thoroughly 'checked' during compression, and McAfee even picked up a few lurking viruses (which it cleaned while WinZip was running). However, for final preservation you should rather use Briefcase or Explorer to get (copy) the data off, as some files in the zip archive were listed (named) but contained no data! (The data on the floppy was directly legible, though.) If you have zip archives on the floppy, rather extract the data and rezip them on the C drive.

You should now purchase new diskettes - I must recommend Dysan - and recopy your backup files....

[Compiled by Victor W Meyer on 27 February 2000]

"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens." (1 Thess. 5, The Message, p. 513)

"Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that's where the action is. See things from his perspective." (Col. 3, The Message, p. 503)

Perhaps the following Afrikaans poem by Saphira metaphorically describes my present state of mind (mixed feelings):


Die aalwyn wou 'n liedjie skryf
hier uit sy hart en doringlyf.

Die note rooi was op sy stam
met woorde wat na boontoe vlam.

Tog niemand het die lied verstaan -
die liedjie met die vreemde naam.

Maar aalwyn het sy lied gesing.
Die heuningkoek het bitter in!


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