Floods cause havoc in Gauteng

2010-12-16 19:20

Johannesburg - Seven people and a dog had to be helped to safety on Thursday after being caught by rising water following incessant rain in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

In Soweto, Johannesburg paramedics were called to help a family whose house had flooded near Klipspruit Valley Road, ER24 spokesperson Vanessa Jackson said.

"When paramedics arrived, there were hundreds of people standing on higher ground at the railway lines, having evacuated their houses as water rose higher and higher from the river."

A family of four and their pet dog were removed uninjured from their house using a rubber dingy. A woman jumped into the rushing river nearby for unknown reasons, but was rescued by police.

Burst dam

A man was caught by the flood waters of a burst dam near the Morula Sun Casino, 20km northeast of Pretoria. He found safety on a piece of concrete and waited five hours before a police helicopter rescued him.

In a similar incident, a man was also overcome by water in the Moreleta River and taken to Mamelodi Hospital.

Meanwhile the SABC reported that the R599 between Lenasia and Randfontein was closed when the slimes dam of a nearby mine cracked and started leaking, apparently because of the heavy rain. Mine engineers were on the scene.

Some rivers in Tshwane appeared to be subsiding on Thursday afternoon following forecasts of floods in the area, according to officials.

As from 13:30 the rivers appeared to subside and there were no reports of casualties or serious injuries, safety and security spokesperson William Baloyi said.

Some roads were still closed and he advised residents to take care near rivers and in low-lying areas.

Flash flood warning

Parts of Centurion and informal settlements were of particular concern.

Baloyi warned of flash flooding in low-lying areas of Paul Kruger Street in the city centre. Rabie and End streets had been closed, as had Aster and Akker streets in East Lynne. There was a possibility the residents there could be evacuated.

Motorists were warned to take care on Voortrekker Road and Michael Brink Street, as well as along Zambezi Drive.

Baloyi warned these roads could be closed in the next few hours if the rain continued.

Floods were affecting the R101 near Bon Accord heading towards Hammanskraal, but the road was not closed yet. A Sapa reporter said cars were stuck in water after attempting to cross the road on the R101, north of Bon Accord.

Possible evacuation

Baloyi said they were monitoring the townships of Soshanguve, Soutpan and other low-lying areas, as they might have to evacuate.

Although there had been no immediate reports of flooding, the Hennops River in Centurion and the Apies River in Pretoria North were being monitored, as were certain areas of Hammanskraal.

Any flooding or damage could be reported to the municipal disaster management team on 012 358 6400.

In Johannesburg parts of Soweto, Lenasia, Roodepoort and Florida were affected.

Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the N1 north and south between the N17 and the Maraisburg offramp were reopened. Roads that were still to be avoided included: the M1 north at the Smit Street offramp, M1 south at the Booysens offramp, Siemert Road in Doornfontein, Turf Club Road in Turffontein, Motsoaledi, Klip Valley and Khumalo roads in Soweto, and Goldman and Sauer streets in Florida.

Jukskei River overflowing

Emergency services spokesperson Percy Morokane said: "The Jukskei River is now overflowing and our main concern is with the people in the informal settlement next to it."

Heavy rains had caused flooding in the south of Lenasia. Shacks were flooded in Protea South and Klipspruit, Soweto. About seven houses were flooded in Mtipa Road.

"We have had flooding since 03:00 in various parts of Soweto and the Roodepoort area as well as New Canada. In New Canada Road in Pennyville, three cars were stuck in a flood but we managed to pull out two. Occupants of the cars managed to get out before being flooded and there were no injuries."

Morokane said the disaster management team had activated a joint operations centre in Roodepoort, where several municipal entities would work together. This team included Johannesburg Water, the roads agency, metro police, emergency management, social development, housing and urban development.

Consideration was being given to closing certain parks in the city, which were popular with the city's residents on the December 16 public holiday.

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Read more on:    johannesburg  |  floods  |  weather

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