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Bodies still missing as flood waters recede

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Independent Newspapers

The Sand River in Mpumalanga became a raging torrent after the recent heavy rains. File picture: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - Four people were still missing in Mpumalanga and Limpopo on Wednesday after extensive flooding in several parts of the country.

Two women, aged 64 and 69, have been missing from Makhado and Bela-Bela since the weekend, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

“She [the 64-year-old from Makhado] left Tshitale village in the morning to get some wood. She had to cross the Mambedi river at some point and her dog, which she usually travels with, returned to the house alone.”

Persistent rain made it difficult to recover the body of a 69-year-old woman who was swept away with her husband while swimming in Bela-Bela at the weekend.

The two were swimming in an undercover swimming pool at the Kariba Lodge on Friday when the Bela-Bela dam overflowed and they were swept away.

The body of her 74-year-old husband was found on Saturday.

A 15-year-old youth who was reported missing on Monday was found, Mulaudzi said.

The boy was crossing the river with a friend on Monday.

“They were swept away, but the friend managed to grab onto an object and get himself to safety. He then alerted police about his friend.”

“The family did not alert police that he was found 1/8on Monday 3/8. But he is back at school now,” Mulaudzi said.

In Gauteng, Johannesburg emergency management services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said no drownings had been reported on Wednesday.

“We are just busy with mop-up operations around the city.”

Earlier, Mulaudzi said about 100 homes were affected by flooding in Zandspruit, near Honeydew, west of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

An emergency shelter was set up in the area for the displaced group of about 200, but they were reluctant to leave their belongings behind, Mulaudzi said.

Diepsloot and Ivory Park were also affected by the flooding. No drownings were reported in both areas, he said.

“We will continue to monitor the affected areas.”

In Tshwane, 10 homes collapsed in an informal settlement in Stinkwater on Tuesday afternoon.

“We assisted in organising alternative accommodation, blankets, and food parcels,” emergency management services spokesman Johan Pieterse said.

Power had been restored to Mamelodi, Silverton and Samcor Park after the areas experienced power failures due to the heavy rains.

Nellmaphius and a few outstanding streets in Watloo were still out of power, City of Tshwane spokesman Moeketsi Bokaba said.

The two areas were expected to be switched back on by Wednesday evening.

“Consumers are advised to treat all electrical points 'as live'. Switch off all non-essential appliances to assist with the load on the electrical network.”

Water affairs department spokesman Themba Khumalo said the rain in Gauteng was the most persistent for the March period in 14 years.

“This is confirmed by the weather services,” he said.

The department was trying to control dam levels in the province.

“If we don't, they will burst.”

He said places such as Vereeniging would be in danger of being flooded if the Vaal Dam were to burst. The dam was currently 105 percent full.

“By yesterday [Tuesday] we had opened eight sluice-gates to control the levels so that the water would flow into the Vaal River.

“That puts the river at [risk] of overflowing too.”

He said those who lived near rivers should ensure that they were a good distance from the floodlines.

“In places like the Jukskei River in Alexandra residents build homes below the floodlines which is why every year they are affected [by heavy rain and floods],” Khumalo said.

SA weather services forecaster Ezekiel Sebego said there was a severe weather watch for Wednesday and Thursday for the eastern parts of North West, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.

By the weekend the wet weather would move to other parts of the country, he said.

“By Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the rain will be moving to lesser affected provinces [such as] half of North West and the Free State.

Sapa


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