Mams West residents brace for heavy weather
AS THE SA Weather Service predicts a 60% chance of rainfall for the capital city today, residents at the Eerste Fabrieke informal settlement in Mamelodi West are worrying about a recurrence of flooding.
Heavy rains continued to pour down on Wednesday, causing panic among informal settlers living near riverbeds.
Late last year rain-triggered disasters, including flash floods and landslides, devastated the Eerste Fabrieke informal settlement located on the riverbed.
More than 1 300 people were displaced when about 700 shacks were destroyed. While some were housed at a nearby church, other residents decided to go back and rebuild their shacks. saying they had nowhere else to go.
Yesterday, panicked residents could be seen packing their belongings into vehicles in case they had to flee.
Residents told the Pretoria News that they didn’t want a repeat of what happened in December and that they would rather be safe than sorry.
One resident, carrying a sleeping bag, said: “During the flood, I lost my clothes, money and appliances.”
Many other residents were seen moving their belongings to neighbours who were on higher ground.
According to the SA Weather Service, there is a 70% chance of rain from today and tomorrow.
“There will be thundershowers for most of Friday and Saturday, with highs of 25 degrees,” it said.
Previously, rescue divers had to be brought in to bring some relief during floods. Some residents stood on top of their shack roofs, while some attempted to swim. Others piled up stones, tyres and wood to make a causeway.
More than 400 people are currently living in a Baptist church in Mamelodi West, uncertain about their future.
Last year, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said an interim task team committee would organise new housing.
“In all these areas, we want people out of these community facilities before Christmas. Because if they stay there longer, it creates new hazards. We have children here, elderly people. We don’t want a situation where you create new problems,” he said at the time.
Provincial government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said residents would be placed on new land in the new year (2020).
According to Pastor Thembelani Jentile, the provincial department had asked for an extension until the end of January.
“They said they had allocated land on the outskirts of Mamelodi, but were waiting to seal the deal. They asked that victims be housed until the end of the month,” he said.
With heavy rains, floods, high winds and even tornadoes recently wreaking havoc across many parts of South Africa, Auto & General Insurance is urging South Africans to remain vigilant and adopt a more proactive approach to avoid damage to property, injury and loss of life.
It offers the following practical tips to stay safe in adverse weather conditions:
● Standing firm: Make sure that your outdoor furniture and accessories are safely stored or firmly secured and that all gates and doors that need to be locked, are.
● Beware the bolt: Heavy rains are often associated with lightning. It’s best to have surge protection plugs in place and/or to unplug appliances before the storm arrives.
● Sand savvy: It is sensible to purchase your own supply of sandbags, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. These can be placed against doorways and low-level vents in times of flooding to help minimise the amount of water that enters your home.
● High value, higher up: Move high value items to the highest possible floor or shelf if a flood threatens.
WATER accumulation near the informal settlement at Eerste Fabrieke, Mamelodi.