The Department of Water and Sanitation in South Africa has warned residents against crossing flooded rivers and bridges in the next two days.
“Hennops River in Centurion, south of Pretoria is already flooded and the bridge that links the area with the city is closed for crossing,” the department said on Monday.
For the past weeks, large parts of the country have been pounded by perennial rains that have resulted in the flooding of some rivers and bridges in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. No fatalities have been reported so far.
Gauteng is expected to receive 80% of the rain between Monday and Tuesday.
The department warned residents who live below the flood line of rivers to be cautious and move to safer areas at the earliest sign of flooding.
“People who have erected illegal dwellings on the catchment of rivers must find alternative accommodation as they risk being flooded. Swimming in the rivers during these rains may put the lives of the swimmers at risk,” the department said.
With dam levels increasing due to the persistent rains, the department said officials are ready to open sluice gates to release water from the dams that are full to avoid any possible flooding.
“Should this happen, people whose houses are below the flood line are exposed to the danger of being flooded.”
Last month, eThekwini Municipality embarked on a campaign to ask illegal shack dwellers to relocate from the banks of rivers.
Heavy rains to continue until Wednesday
Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service has predicted that the heavy rains will continue until Wednesday when the downpours will begin to subside.
“Heavy rain leading to localised flooding is expected across Gauteng, eastern North West Province and the north-eastern parts of Limpopo on Monday. Flooding is expected over the southern and western parts of Mpumalanga and in Gauteng on Monday,” the weather service said.
Precautions for heavy rains;
- Stay indoors and off the road, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams, where water is above your ankle;
- If trapped in a vehicle, abandon it and climb to higher ground;
- In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level;
- Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building;
- In rural areas, protect/relocate animals to a safe place on higher ground;
- Abandon your home immediately if evacuation is recommended before access is cut off by floodwater;
- Never drive on a road covered by water, you do not know how deep it is or if the road has been washed away;
- If the vehicle stalls, leave immediately and seek higher ground; and
- Be especially cautious at night when it harder to recognise flood dangers.