Orange River on flood standby

2011-01-14 20:02

Bloemfontein - Local authorities along the lower Orange River were geared on Friday for a weekend that might be marked by floods in low-lying areas.

Spokesperson for the Siyanda District, Gilbert Lategan, said that while all bridges in the region were still open the authorities were watching the water levels.

"Our only worry at this stage was the emergency wall near Kakamas, which must stop the water from flooding the road."

However, farmers were helping the local municipality in Kakamas in rehabilitating the wall from time to time.

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson was also expected to visit the flood hit areas in Douglas, Prieska and Warrenton in Northern Cape and Christiana in North West to look at the damage caused by the floods on Sunday.

The minister would speak to the farmers and workers affected by the floods and brief them about what government and the department in particular, intended doing in terms of providing assistance to them.

On Thursday night the last people were also removed from Kanon Island in the Orange River due to the rising water.

Lategan said aircraft from the police and the Air Force were constantly monitoring the area between Upington and Kakamas for possible emergency situations.

"They also help with the distribution of food supplies, tents and would help with people being stuck by flood water."

Lategan said they had had no emergency by Friday afternoon.

Khara Hais municipal spokesperson Patrick Williams said the town Upington was situated quite higher than the river.

"Thus far only the lower lying resorts and places along the river such as guest houses have flooding problems."

He said the municipality had given ample warning and residents affected had time to remove personal belongs and animals.

Williams said the region had a disaster management meeting on Friday morning in preparation for the weekend.

It was estimated that the river level was currently at 7.7m above normal, but the Upington Bridge was still open for traffic.

- SAPA
Read more on:    tina joemat-pettersson  |  weather  |  floods
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