The first week of November was bleak worldwide for many, politically. I found myself commenting that Wednesday’s gale storm winds in Cape Town, were nature’s reaction to the news of Donald Trump’s win in the US elections. Further up the country in Johannesburg the storm was much worse: torrential rains had resulted in flash floods that literally wiped traffic off roads, flooded cars, townships and washed people away. It is estimated around 6 people have died with many missing including a 3 year old girl from Alexandra township.
Locally the country has dealt with some hard to swallow news, with the State Capture Report’s release and the vote results of the motion of no confidence against president Jacob Zuma. The country and ANC has lost faith in it’s president, with ministers and previous president Thabo Mbeki expressing this in a speech on Tuesday. There is a sense of instability. Of ‘what’s next’?
So it was heartening to see the heroic and selfless efforts of South Africans in the face of the storms this week. Two truckdrivers of DPMM Logistics, Lucas and Vuyani, began pulling people out of their cars onto the trailers. They rescued about 20 people. Bianca Bird got out of her car and began assisting them as well as giving CPR (Pictured above).
One video of people forming a human chain to help women and children out of a taxi in the midst of the floods has gone viral and we challenge you not to feel a heartstring tug.
Hail fell in and around Johannesburg, up to 20cm deep in Pretoria. The storms moved further up west to Lesotho, Free State and the Eastern Cape on Thursday giving Joburg a light reprieve. Warnings were issued on Friday for Joburg, for the worst thunderstorm in decades.
The results of the storm were made worse by the drought that resulted in storm drains being blocked by debris. The annual rainfall in November for Joburg is 117mm, to understand the severity of these floods, on Wednesday alone rainfall reached 90mm.
The ANC has said in a statement that it’s provincial chairperson‚ Paul Mashatile, “activated the Joburg Disaster Management Centre to co-ordinate efforts investigating the extent of the damage and the need for assistance”.
The team, including volunteers “will also look at houses and informal settlements in Alexandra and other affected areas‚ particularly those along the Juksei River.” The ANC is looking to build a ‘tent city’ for those who were displaced by the flood.
Here is how Joburg residents can help those displaced.
Here’s how to survive being caught in a flash flood.
Jozi residents can still expect rainfall into the weekend with possible flooding and thunderstorms.
One positive side of these sudden storms is the answer to the drought problem South Africa is facing, with water reservoirs slipping into critically low numbers. Pictures of some dams filling up substantially thanks to rainfall have come in.
Feature image via Twitter: @EMER-G-MED