South Africa – Gauteng Premier to Declare Disaster Following Floods, 6 Fatalities Confirmed

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura intends to declare some parts of Gauteng disaster areas following the recent fierce flash floods.

Parts of Johannesburg, including OR Tambo International Airport, and Ekurhuleni experienced severe flash floods on Wednesday 09 November, which caused extensive damage to infrastructure, homes and motor vehicles.

Nearly 1 Month of Rain in 3 Hours

Around 90 mm of was recorded in parts of Johannesburg for a 24 hour period between 09 and 10 November. South African Weather Service say that 89 mm of that amount fell in a 3 hour hour period on 09 November. Johannesburg would normally see around 117 mm of rain for the whole of November.

Homes Swept Away

The Gauteng Provincial Government is working with the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni municipalities to support affected people and attend to damaged public infrastructure.

More than 48 homes and infrastructure was damaged and a number of shacks along the Jukskei River banks were swept away leaving scores of people homeless in Stjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra.

Displaced residents are temporarily accommodated in local churches. Government departments and agencies in partnership with Gift of the Givers are currently providing immediate assistance in the form of blankets and food parcels to affected residents.

On a visit to the affected areas, Paul Mashatile, representing the Gauteng Premier in his absence, said:

“As the Gauteng government we are saddened by this incident and we extended our sincerest condolences to families that lost their loved ones as a result of these flash floods. As a medium to long term solution, we will engage with the City of Johannesburg to fence off the areas along the river banks to prevent people from settling there.”

“Government will ensure that people who are informally settled along the river banks are moved to formal areas to avoid future occurrence of such incidents,” he added.

Damage caused by the overflowing Jukskei River in Stjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra, South Africa. Photo: Gauteng Provincial Government
Damage caused by the overflowing Jukskei River in Stjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra, South Africa. Photo: Gauteng Provincial Government

Six Fatalities Confirmed

In a statement yesterday, Gauteng Provincial Government confirmed that 6 people had died in the floods. On behalf of the provincial government, the Premier conveyed condolences to the families of those who passed on.

Disaster Declaration

The provincial government is providing relief and assistance to those still displaced by the flooding. There are also warnings that there could be more flooding over the weekend.

Premier Makhura said that “a significant number of our citizens from across Gauteng are continuing to be displaced as the heavy rains continue into the weekend. Provincial and local government disaster management teams have been doing a great job in assisting to provide temporary relief to those affected.

“We are taking the necessary steps to declare a disaster so that we can tap into all available resources to assist those affected by the flash floods and ongoing heavy downpours to rebuild their lives.”

Further Flood Warnings

The provincial government urges Gauteng residents to be extra cautious this weekend as more floods are anticipated.

The government warned that people living in low-lying areas must take special care during storms, as sudden floods might affect them. Residents living next to rivers and streams must evacuate to a safer place or higher spot when the water level rises.

South African Weather Service said that they expect severe thunderstorms today, 12 November, in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, north and west KwaZulu-Natal, eastern parts of north west and eastern Free State.

Flood summary

Last updated: November 12, 2016
Event
South Africa, November 2016
Date
November 9, 2016
Type
Flash flood, Inland flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - OR Tambo International Airport
B - Ekurhuleni
C - Alexandra

Magnitude

Rainfall level
90 mm in 24 hours
Johannesburg - November 9 to November 10, 2016

Damages

Fatalities
6 people
Johannesburg - November 8 to November 10, 2016