JOHANNESBURG – At least three people have died and an estimated 200 others have been displaced following heavy rains and flash floods in Gauteng.
The disaster management centre in the province says the total cost of the damage caused by Saturday’s downpours, which caused road closures, accidents and forced some people to evacuate their homes, is not yet known.
Parts of Alexandra, Soweto, and Tshwane were hardest by the heavy rains with some residents still reeling from the trail of destruction.
Disaster management’s Elias Sithole said, “We’ve got one confirmed death on the west rand and then there is two in the City of Johannesburg, and these cases are related to drowning. There might be another case where rescue teams are busy with a search operation.”
Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) say an 8-year-old boy drowned in Witpoortjie and during the torrential rains on Friday night.
It’s understood he was swept away by the deluge near a stormwater drain in the Mlhangeni informal settlement.
EMS spokesperson Nana Radebe said, “The body of the boy was retrieved yesterday and today the MMC for public safety and the EMS head will be going to the family.”
Disaster relief have been deployed to affected areas to assist communities as clean operations continue.
Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service has warned of heavy rains and thunderstorms that may result in flooding, on Sunday and Monday, in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Many communities across the country are still piecing together their lives following floods in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal at the end of last year.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala on Thursday said his
government was in the process of declaring a provincial state of disaster following a series of natural incidents amounting to an estimated R1.2 billion.
Since the start of the disasters last November, 44 people have died, 193 were injured and 30,000 more displaced.
Zikalala said declaring a provincial state of disaster was part of efforts to repair homes, schools and other public infrastructure.
“The purpose of declaring the provincial disaster in line with Act 57 is to ensure that as the provincial government we’re able to raise resources and to request the national government to assist us on that.”
Meanwhile, Mamelodi residents are still waiting to be relocated after they were forced to find shelter at numerous disaster relief centres; the largest being the Mamelodi Baptist Church; after torrential rains destroyed at least 700 homes.