Weather death toll: 29

2011-01-07 11:03

A total of 17 people died in flooding and thunderstorms in the Eastern Cape, police said today.

Six among them were children, said Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela.

“The figure is from December 21 to January 6.”

It included four people who were killed by lightning in Mamolweni at the weekend.

“You see, all the deaths were related to adverse weather conditions so that’s how we came to this figure,” he said.

The deceased were from Mthatha, Lusikisiki, Port St John, Libode and Mount Frere.

In KwaZulu-Natal, seven people died after being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm in Eshowe on Sunday.

Five others were killed in the province in floods this week. Hundreds of others were left displaced across the country as rain damaged property, uprooted trees, marooned farms, and destroyed crops and shacks.

Communities living near overflowing dams were cautioned to take care.

Today, the water affairs department said it would not change the number of sluice gates opened at the Vaal dam.

“The current number of gates opened remains at 17 as has been the case since yesterday afternoon,” spokesperson Linda Page said.

A flood warning was issued to communities residing downstream of the Vaal dam and the other three major dams – Bloemhof, Gariep and Vanderkloof.

The Vaal dam was 109% full, and the outflow was 2?550 cubic metres per second.

The capacity of the Bloemhof dam dropped to 92% and the inflow was 1?600 cubic metres per second, which was expected to increase to 3?800 cubic metres per second by Monday.

The Gariep dam was at 116% and the outflow of 2?200 cubic metres per second was expected to increase to 2?600 cubic metres per second by Sunday.

The Vanderkloof Dam is at 113%.

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa was scheduled to visit the Qedusizi dam in Ladysmith today.

She wanted to assess the effect on the dam and the area of Klip River where flooding had taken place over the weekend. Molewa also wanted to check on the flood control measures put in place by the department.

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