Gaut­eng flood­ing takes heavy toll

At least three peo­ple died in the week­end’s down­pour.

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Chi­som Jen­nif­fer Okoye – jen­nif­[email protected]­i­zen.co.za

‘The pre­lim­i­nary in­di­ca­tion of the cause of flood­ing is the blocked drainage.’

At least three peo­ple are be­lieved to have lost their lives across Gaut­eng, in ad­di­tion to the “sur­prise” flood­ing of the He­len Joseph Hos­pi­tal, af­ter the heavy down­pours this past week­end.

The heavy rain, which led to lo­calised flood­ing, af­fected sev­eral ar­eas across Gaut­eng, par­tic­u­larly in Jo­han­nes­burg, leav­ing sev­eral peo­ple des­ti­tute. Three peo­ple re­port­edly lost their lives.

City of Jo­han­nes­burg Emer­gency Man­age­ment Ser­vides spokesper­son Nana Radebe said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had re­sponded to two cases, in­clud­ing an eightyear-old girl who was washed away by the floods in Mlan­geni.

She said they were now at­tend­ing to the sec­ond case of an on­go­ing search in Dou­glas­dale where a per­son was said to have gone miss­ing near a bridge.

Radebe went on to say “sev­eral shacks in in­for­mal set­tle­ments and homes in Soweto were af­fected as well”.

The City of Jo­han­nes­burg’s coun­cil speaker Non­ceba Mol­wele took to so­cial me­dia to an­nounce that tem­po­rary shel­ters had been given to peo­ple who were des­ti­tute at Wal­ter Sisulu Square in Klip­town, Soweto.

In ad­di­tion to af­fected in­fra­struc­ture, the He­len Joseph Hos­pi­tal came as a sur­prise for DA’s Shadow Health MEC in Gaut­eng, Jack Bloom who said he had re­ceived nu­mer­ous com­plaints about the state of the build­ing “for some time now” but never ex­pected this to hap­pen.

On Satur­day, sev­eral peo­ple took to so­cial me­dia to share hor­rific im­agery of peo­ple walk­ing through an­kle deep water, and pa­tients sit­ting with their feet on chairs to avoid be­ing wet.

The im­ages also showed flooded cor­ri­dors along with scenes of water flow­ing across the park­ing lot and en­try points.

Ac­cord­ing to Kwara Kekana “the flood­ing at He­len Joseph was con­tained as early as 10.30am (on Satur­day)”.

“The ac­ci­dent and emer­gency unit was af­fected, the pre­lim­i­nary in­di­ca­tion of the cause of the flood­ing is the blocked drainage sys­tem.

“There was min­i­mum in­ter­rup­tion of ser­vices and the team at He­len Joseph Hos­pi­tal was able to deal with the flood­ing in the unit.”

Bloom noted that it was very un­usual that a long-es­tab­lished build­ing like the He­len Joseph Hos­pi­tal would have is­sues of flood­ing in its premises.

He said to his me­mory, it had never hap­pened be­fore even with the heavy down­pours last year.

“I have been wor­ried about the man­age­ment of the hos­pi­tal. For a while, I have been re­ceiv­ing com­plaints about poor main­te­nance and the state of the toi­lets. The build­ing needs to be re­vamped and re­paired. They need to es­tab­lish why it hap­pened this time around and make sure that it is in good shape,” he said.

He added that in the given “un­for­tu­nate” sit­u­a­tion, “the hos­pi­tal did what they could” to fix the im­me­di­ate prob­lem.

Dur­ing a visit to the emer­gency unit at the He­len Joseph Hos­pi­tal by The Cit­i­zen yes­ter­day, nurses con­firmed that there were no ma­jor dis­rup­tions and all the pa­tients were safe.

“I was not here yes­ter­day dur­ing the floods but from what I have seen to­day, ev­ery­thing is fine,” said one nurse who did not want to be named.

She said the rain that flooded the drop-off zone of the emer­gency unit was mopped away by the teams de­ployed by the depart­ment of health (DoH). She added that the (DoH) had in­formed the hos­pi­tal’s work­ers that it was work­ing with the depart­ment of in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment to en­sure there was min­i­mum in­ter­rup­tion of ser­vices.

Sev­eral shacks and homes in Soweto af­fected

Pic­ture: Deaan Vivier

WA­TER­LOGGED. Mo­torists drive over a flooded low-water bridge in Aman­dal­boom Street in Pre­to­ria North. Heavy rains in the early hours of Satur­day caused some low tide bridges in Pre­to­ria to flood their banks.

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