'Everything inside my house is floating': Lenasia residents use boats to rescue neighbours after floods

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Many Lenasia residents had to flee their homes following heavy rains.
Many Lenasia residents had to flee their homes following heavy rains.
Ntwaagae Seleka
  • More than 50 residents were rescued from their flooded homes in Lenasia.
  • Residents and emergency services used canoes and boats to help the stranded people.
  • The area remains flooded.

Some Lenasia residents remain stranded after their homes were flooded following heavy downpours on Friday.

Homes in Lenasia Extension 1 were heavily flooded after water running from the neighbouring Klip River flowed in.

Using small boats and canoes, rescuers stopped over at every house along Flamingo Street, where the most affected residents lived.

By noon, some affected homes were deserted.

Some cars were left stranded and covered by water. 

Those living in double-storey homes were standing on their balconies watching water take over their properties.

Despite complaining about seeing snakes going into some homes, some brave residents walked in the water looking for their desperate neighbours.

Emergency personnel were on standby to assess those who were rescued.

Among the affected residents was Kashiefa Sheik, whose yard was severely flooded, to the extent that her perimeter wall was not visible.

"This flooding caught us by surprise. By 07:00, water levels were very low. I never thought it would flood. The rain had just stopped when I saw water running into my yard. I thought the water was passing. I was wrong. 

"Water ran into my house rapidly. It was a state of panic. Our belongings were completely damaged. Everything inside my house is floating.

READ | 'I need help' - screams heard as Lenasia residents use boats to rescue neighbours from flooded homes

"I only managed to save my dog, cellphones, a laptop and a few clothes. The water inside the house was above my waist.

"I don't know where to go from here. These are our homes. Our homes are underwater. I hope our household insurance will come to our rescue. We usually have floods in our area. This is the first time we've seen water this high inside our home," said Sheik.

Nadia Mohamed, a neighbour, was relieved when her mother-in-law was rescued from a flooded house.

Mohamed shed tears and hugged the elderly woman, who was also crying.

The pensioner was later taken away by an ambulance.

According to Pulsate EMS spokesperson, Mikhaeela Ibrahim, more than 50 stranded people were rescued from their homes in Lenasia Extension 1 following heavy downpours.

"We arrived at 08:00. The water levels were not too high. An hour later, it started lifting up, entering homes. Things became worse. People were trapped in their homes.

"We deployed our units. Other strategic companies and residents joined us. We had elderly people trapped in their homes. They could not move. We started moving them one by one independently.

"We started with elderly women, followed by men and youngsters. Saaberie Chishty Medical Services were on the scene assessing those who were rescued from their homes. We are monitoring the area. Regarding our safety and rescue operation, everything is in order," said Ibrahim.

A councillor and leader of minority parties in the City of Johannesburg, Margaret Arnolds, assisted various emergency services in Eldorado Park and Lenasia.

"We are saddened by what is happening. I have been to Lenasia and Eldorado Park for the past three years following heavy rains. Our people are continuously suffering.

"I have been out with EMS, search and rescue teams. We have assisted people living in the graveyard in Eldorado Park. They were airlifted to a place of safety. We then rushed here. 

"Yesterday (Thursday), I was addressing a colleague about the condition in Lenasia after heavy rains. This place is terrible. People resorted to using their own boats to rescue their neighbours," said Arnolds.

Meanwhile, six people trapped inside a truck along the Abu-Avsat Drive, linking Soweto and Lenasia, were rescued by helicopter.

The occupants attempted to cross the flooded low-lying bridge above the Klip River.

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