Disaster team still assessing flood damage – as more extreme weather is set to roll in today

By Jaco Hough-Coetzee
10 November 2016

More extreme weather is set to hit Gauteng on Thursday and Friday.

Many roads on the East Rand and elsewhere in Gauteng are still closed after freak floods occurred in this area on Wednesday from about 5.30 pm. In the meantime the Johannesburg disaster management team is trying to determine the extent of the damage.

Hundreds of motorists who were caught in peak hour traffic suffered a terrifying experience when roads and underground parking areas flooded.

The area around the N3 and R21 close to the O.R. Tambo airport were hit hardest when many motorists drifted off the highway or were trapped in the water.

In the midst of the chaos there were also heroes like two truck drivers who took roughly 20 motorists onto the back of their trucks after they vehicles were consumed by the flood waters.


Read more: 21 unbelievable photos and videos of Joburg’s flash floods


The organisation SA Long Distance Truckers shared this photo on their Facebook page where it was liked 25 000 times within an hour and shared countless times.

By Thursday afternoon certain roads in the area, amongst others the R55 between Kyalami and Waterfall, were still closed because they were unusable. Jan Smuts highway was also closed at the Johannesburg Zoo after an outside wall of the zoo was destroyed by the flood. The Gauteng provincial government also said in a statement that at least six people had died in the flood. The government also instructed the disaster management team to provide special assistance to the informal settlement of Alexandra, which is next to the Juskkei River.

The organisation Gift of the Givers also pitched in yesterday to try and track down missing persons, but had to abandon their rescue operations by 11 pm because the rising waters of the Jukskei had made it to dangerous. Their team was in Alexandra before dawn where they provided hot meals to thousands of residents.

In the mean-time it appears that Gauteng residents should prepare themselves for more storms. According to the weather service, strong winds and thunder storms will hit parts of Gauteng later on Thursday and Friday.

Hail and heavy rains are also expected.

The inclement conditions should clear up by Sunday, but the weather bureau warns that rains will hit Gauteng again by Monday.

SAFETY INFORMATION

Should you heavy rains hit Joburg again, according to ER24:

AT HOME

-- Keep emergency numbers and important information handy. Also keep emergency supplies such as water, canned food, a can opener, battery-operated radio, flashlight and protective clothing ready.

Keep a first aid kit.

-- Turn off all your household electrical devices.

-- Lock all doors and windows.

-- Leave the area before it gets too late. Get to higher ground.

IN THE CAR

-- Climb to higher ground and stay there.

-- Avoid walking through floodwaters – even 15 centimeters deep can sweep you off your feet.

-- If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground.

-- Never drive through a flooded road as the road may be washed away.

-- If you get swept away in the flood waters, try to grab onto anything you can to pull yourself to safety.

-- Getting swept away while inside your vehicle can be extremely dangerous. If you are stuck inside your vehicle, roll down the windows and open the doors to allow water into your vehicle. Doing this will equal the pressure on both sides of the door, allowing you to escape your vehicle.

Visit Arrive Alive for advice on what to do if trapped in a submerged vehicle

EMERGENCY NUMBERS:

Nationwide Emergency Response: 10111

For anywhere in South Africa. A call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars and assign the complaint to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station, to attend the incident.

City of Johannesburg Emergency Connect: 011 37 55 911

A 24-hour emergency services relating to all-life threatening situations, including ambulances, fire engines and metro police.

ER 24: 084 124

VISIT THE CITY OF JOHANNESBURG SITE FOR MORE

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