Flood warning issued as more rain forecast

2011-01-05 13:39

Johannesburg - The water affairs department issued a flood warning on Wednesday after two days of heavy rainfall soaked parts of the country.

"Communities residing near the four major dams (Vaal, Bloemhof, Gariep and Vanderkloof dams) should exercise extreme caution," spokesperson Linda Page said just before noon.

Over the past 24 hours, the Vaal dam had reached a capacity of 105.5% and the outflow had increased substantially.

The Bloemhof Dam was 101% full and was expected to increase outflow to 1 300 cubic metres per second by 16:00, and 1 700m cubic metres per second by 17:00 on Wednesday.

The Gariep Dam was at 109.8% full and the outflow was 1 600 cubic metres per second while the Vanderkloof Dam reached the capacity of 105.8%.

Its outflow of 950 cubic metres per second was expected to increase to 2 000 cubic metres per second.

More rain forecast

"As more rain has been forecast by the SA Weather service it is expected that additional measures will be taken to release more water from the dams," Page said.

A man's body was found floating in the Ladysmith floods, the municipality said on Wednesday.

“One person was found in the water dead. He must have drowned. He was found around 15:00 yesterday [Tuesday],” said Ladysmith deputy mayor Fana Madlala.

Across the country, the heavy downpour had cut off roads, uprooted trees, collapsed bridges, marooned farms, wrecked crops, damaged cars, flooded homes and swept away shacks.

Affected areas included Moretele, Hammanskraal, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Mamelodi, Nkandla, Nquthu, Winburg, Senekal, and parts of Mpumalanga.

Simphiwe Kunene, co-operate governance spokesperson in Mpumalanga, said a warning of possible flooding had been issued in their province.

"We warn all residents of the province to be on full alert as heavy rains and windstorms have been predicted for the province for the next few days," he said.

"A special warning is being made to those living in low lying areas and next to flood lines... continued rains can lead to the increase of dam and river levels thus making small streams very dangerous."

He urged people to move to higher ground. All Mpumalanga municipalities were on standby to respond to flooded areas, said Kunene.

Scores left homeless

Tshwane community safety spokesperson William Baloyi said several informal settlements in Mamelodi had been destroyed and scores of families left homeless.

"Their basic necessities, clothing and other belongings were swept away.

"The flooding is serious and they need to be evacuated... so right now, we are trying to move them into churches and available halls."

Mayor Raymond Motsepe from the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality said an emergency relief delegation would be sent to the Moretele and Hammanskraal area where hundreds of families had been displaced.

Moretele and Hammanskraal are situated near the North West province border.

In Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, about 50 houses were flooded on Tuesday.

The central business district was affected and businesses were forced to close.

The Gift of the Givers said teams from Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg were ready to respond to the affected areas.

"Our teams at both offices are ready to respond if local and provincial authorities request assistance outside government departments," spokesperson Imtiaz Sooliman said on Wednesday.

"Having 18 vehicles of our own, including five trucks and more than R15m in backup supplies we are well positioned to respond if needed."

He said they had tents, blankets, new clothing, shoes, bottled water, cooked food, food parcels and hygiene packs available if necessary.

The SABC reported that low-lying bridges along the N5 highway in the Free State were flooded.

Transport department spokesperson Zolile Walaza urged motorists to be cautious and wait for the rain to subside instead of trying to cross bridges.

- Have you been affected? Send us your photos and eyewitness accounts

  • Fazil - 2011-01-05 14:05

    I dont see national or provincial or local government doing much about this matter, other then paying themselves massive bonuses each year?

      Roanokee - 2011-01-05 14:29

      What would you expect the government do about this matter? Pray for less rain?

      Denise - 2011-01-05 14:49

      Where we live, the Ekurhuleni metro have not cleaned out our stormwater drains in the past 5 years. We pay them approx R1000.00 for the honour of receiving their dubious services. If this is what they are like, God help the other folk dependent on their municipalities.

      JaquiS - 2011-01-05 15:12

      As per Denises comment. I live in Atlasville and flooded twice in 5 days in Jan/Feb 2010. Not much has been done by Ekurhuleni to resolve this, despite NUMEROUS emails, meetings, promises etc. It's pathetic. They keep saying they are "working on the problem" yet another rainy season is here, bad rain on the 16th Dec almost resulted in us flooding again. As I typr this the heavens have opened and it's raining hard. Do they care? No - but there pockets are properly lined. Makes me sick !!!

      Fazil - 2011-01-05 15:50

      @Roanokee, amongst others they can pray for a little less rain but if it is not too much, plan on how to minimse the damage inflicted by floods, rathre then waiting for NGO's to jump and do their work.

      scorpio - 2011-01-05 18:21

      @ Roanokee - sounds to me like you would make an ideal Govt official

  • saturnz - 2011-01-05 14:07

    we are starting to feel the effects of global warming now, flooding is becoming more and more prevalent in the news headlines across the world

      supamike - 2011-01-05 14:25

      Fair comment, but, should we not wait for a passage of time to pass to determine if this is not seasonal? Such volumes of water outside of traditional rainy seasons would provide more substantive evidence to the effect of global warming.

      Dan - 2011-01-05 14:53

      Flooding is fine in a sense, as you can manage it with proper development control. You can also always clean up afterwards. Drought is a problem, since we don't have any control over weather. We need more and much better planned retention dams. It might sound a bit heartless, but flood victims "squatting" along river banks deserve to be washed away. Not only are they illegal and in danger of flooding as a result of their own actions, but they pollute our rivers and eco systems. Bottom line is: be glad we are experiencing light flooding and not severe drought.

      C F Kotze - 2011-01-05 17:01

      The global warming theory is a hoax! Humans have zero to little to do with climate change. It's nature. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and sea currents that change course are more responsible for climate change than humans. Europe and North America are experiencing the coldest winter in memory. Would you still call it GLOBAL WARMING if Kwazulu Natal freezes over? That's what's currently happening in Florida and California, two almost tropical states of the USA.

  • Mashwan - 2011-01-05 14:22

    The insurance companies must just get themselves ready to process the claims otherwise...

  • Dan - 2011-01-05 14:44

    Given our poor ability to retain sufficient water in our country for development needs, population growth and dry seasons naturally, the question has to be asked why more dams are not build in South Africa by the Department of Water Affairs. We all know the NP government used thses kind of capital projects to line their own pockets (as the ANC currenty do with other capital projects), hence the poor location of some of our dams. Here we are sitting with a good rain season and most dams overflowing after a couple of good showers. 2 years down the line those same catchment areas might be subject to water restrictions. Development nodes like Nelspruit/White River is an excellent example. No "proper" dam is located in this vicinity and water shortage constantly restricts development. Their main sourse of water (dam) is located in Lydenburg, which has a relatively poor catchment area compared to the Lowveld. Many of these types of dams were built on farms of friends and family members of the old NP big shots for personal gain and therefore not located in the most suitable catchments. Surely the Nelspruit area should have a proper dam. Just always wondered why these thing happen, especially in view of the fact that water is the life line of any community and a very scarce resource in SA. Our Ministers and their friends are nowpolluting our groundwater and rivers with many "illegal" mining activities, posing great threat to the future sustainability of our water supply.

      Willie - 2011-01-05 15:01

      Watch Trevor Noah's DVD he explains a lot of whats happening in this country, and unfortunately none of these "officials" will be reading this so you can basically say what you want to. But Dan my man I agree with you, we need more dams, there's a lot that we need in this country and dams is one of them. But before that maybe some brains.....

  • karin - 2011-01-05 15:12

    lets rather investigate The Causes of Rain....

      C F Kotze - 2011-01-05 16:54

      Yup, seeing that the minister now wants scientists to investigate lightning and sommer makes it disappear as well. Are their really no-one in parliament with a wee bit of education?

  • karin - 2011-01-05 15:13

    How's about they investigate The Cause of Rain

  • Thor - 2011-01-05 15:21

    It's the end of the world as we know it....

      Pleb - 2011-01-06 13:31

      I tend to agree with you - there is a definite shift in weather patterns.

  • Kate - 2011-01-05 17:12

    Daleside, Henley On Klip and Meyerton flooded on the 16th December 2010. Many people were "displaced." We still haven't got our lives sorted out from then. Pray we don't flood again

  • pages:
  • 1