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Flood warning for weekend

14 Jan 2011

People living close to the Vaal or Orange Rivers – or any of their tributaries – have been warned to be on alert and may face possible evacuation because of heavy rains predicted for the weekend and because flood waters from earlier downpours are expected to reach the Northern Cape in the next few days.

The South African Weather Service predicts that there is an 80% chance of heavy rain this weekend. A joint operations centre and flood management task team has been set up to respond to flooding.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa has urged all people living in low-lying or flood affected areas to remain on the alert. The South African Air force is on standby to provide search-and-rescue services in the Northern Cape.

The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs plans to issue daily alerts about the flood waters and has urged people to be especially careful when crossing low-lying bridges or trying to wade or swim through rivers.

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services says that people living in the following areas need to be particularly careful over the next few days.

The flood-prone areas are: Klipspruit, Eldorado South, Dube, Mofolo, Meadowlands, Braamfischerville, parts of Orange Farm, Lenasia South, Florida Lake, Rivonia and Witkoppen Roads in Sunninghill, the Stjwetla informal settlement along the banks of the Jukskei River in Alexandra and the Kaalrivier in Ivory Park.

Four sluice gates are currently open at the Vaal Dam to lower the water levels, prompting rivers below the barrage to rise along the course of the river until its confluence with the Orange River.

Residents in Vereeniging have been warned to expect water levels in the Klip and Vaal Rivers to rise.

The lower parts of the Orange River are likely to be affected by rising water levels as floodwaters head towards the coast. In the Northern Cape, 11 people had to be rescued from an island in the Orange River near Keimoes and 22 families were evacuated near Upington.

People can get more information about the floods by calling the department’s hotline on 0800 200 300.

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About the Author
Paddy Hartdegen

Paddy Hartdegen

Freelance columnist at property24.com.

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