Floods in South Africa wreak havoc

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Torrential rains and floods in the North West and Gauteng provinces of South Africa have caused disruption, government bodies said earlier today.

The Greater Taung Local Municipality said a disaster area was declared, after 150 homes were affected and one person was confirmed dead from flooding.

Residents were warned to keep away from bridges and rivers, and to drive carefully in the inclement weather. Water Affairs spokesperson Mava Scott commented that "people in the low lying areas should be alerted."

The Vaal Dam, meanwhile, was at 105% full, after six sluice gates were opened. Three more are expected to be opened soon, according to the South African Press Association. The Bloemhof Dam in North West province is 112% full, with flood gates having been opened there earlier today.

Officials encouraged people to remove their boats and pumps, as water flow would not be predictable. "It will also be rather dangerous for people to go too near to the river's embankments during this time," Superintendent Eugene Opperman noted.

Meanwhile, roads to places such as Manokwane, Lokaleng, Khibitswane, Mokgareng, and Pudimoe, were also inundated with water. 800 mine workers from East Rand Mines were evacuated as well.