South Africa continues to experience drought condition across the country, this has been characterised by the inconsistent rainfall rates and excessive heat conditions. In the recent days, heavy rains started pouring as predicted by the South African weather Service. In some instances, the initial rainfall was above normal and caused havoc and destruction in communities across the country.
Yesterday, the Gauteng Province experienced torrential rains which affected many residents of the province and subsequently led to loss of life and property. Severe rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms which resulted in major flash flooding in Mpumalanga and Gauteng Provinces affecting low lying areas and bridges was experienced. The rains negatively affected a number of households, both in formal and informal settlements. Bridge structures and roads have also been negatively affected causing entrapment of different vehicles along N3 highway. Some communities in Ekurhuleni Metro and the City of Johannesburg were reportedly displaced, especially in informal areas.
Due to the magnitude of the incident, Disaster Management teams have been put on alert across the country, especially in areas where more rains are expected. The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) is in contact with provincial and local disaster management teams on the ground to monitor the situation and give support.
Since the South African Weather Service has reported that further heavy rainfall is expected today (10 November 2016) and tomorrow (11 November 2016) over the Eastern Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern North West and Limpopo until the weekend, government is calling for communities to exercise caution.
The National Disaster Management Centre requests the public to be cautious of the following:
- Avoid crossing low lying bridges, streams and rivers;
- Motorist must be very careful and avoid driving on flooded areas;
- Please drive to and park at safer areas;
- People living in low lying areas or flood plains, should monitor the rising water levels and evacuate the areas as and when threatened;
- Public should monitor weather alerts through the radios and television; and
- Public should contact their municipal disaster management centres or the nearest police station when faced with threats.
Communities are cautioned of the possibility of severe thunderstorms which could include flooding, heavy downpours with strong winds and hail. These conditions are expected to continue until the weekend and communities are requested to take precaution.
Government urges South Africans to continue use water sparingly and should not be deceived by the current downpours and think that drought is over. It is important to note that it will take a longer period for the country to recover fully from the severe drought and all the challenges it has brought with such as food shortages, lack of drinking water, death of livestock and others.
Government would like to convey its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who lost their lives during the flooding yesterday.
As Government, we endeavour to do everything possible to assist communities, but we urge everyone to be extremely vigilant, especially in the coming three days and beyond amid the heavy rains expected.
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