Rescuers kept busy with Gauteng floods

2011-01-17 09:06

Thirty-four people were evacuated in the Ivory Park area north of Johannesburg, and four rescued in Centurion, Pretoria as floods swept through the area this morning, emergency services said.

Tshwane community safety spokesperson William Baloyi said four people were rescued in separate incidents when they were swept away in their vehicles as the Hennops River pushed through Centurion.

At the same time, emergency personnel were moving through the smallholdings along the river bank to make sure everybody was accounted for, since they first started receiving worried calls after midnight as the river roiled through the farming belt.

“Our concentration is on the smallholdings, moving from house to house and checking,” said Baloyi.

They were told of a number of people who were unaccounted for, but were hoping they had simply stayed away from home for the night.

The rescues were all in the Centurion area.

One woman was believed to have been swept away near Nellmapius, so the team was still out searching for her.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks said two women were found sitting on top of their cars after being swept away by the Hennops River in Irene, Centurion, late on Sunday night.

“The women, separated by several hundred metres, spent hours precariously atop the roofs of their submerged vehicles after the river broke its banks. Both were rescued by medics and firefighters in the early hours of the morning.”

Further south, 34 people were evacuated after emergency calls started coming through after midnight from Thembakazi informal settlement, Johannesburg emergency services spokesman Percy Morokane said.

“There were fast-moving torrential currents of water. People were under threat of being washed away.”

They evacuated people from that settlement as well as from Rabie Ridge and Ebony Park.

An operational centre was established at Ivory Park fire station.

People concerned about rising waters where they live should contact 10177 for assistance.?

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