Johannesburg – The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) says it will add more foot soldiers to assist with rescue efforts in the Joburg area after heavy rain and floods caused massive damage on Friday.
The most affected areas appeared to be the West Rand, Soweto, Lenasia and Johannesburg South, where roads, infrastructure and houses were damaged by the floods.
Rescue missions include helping people through flash floods and people trapped in their homes or vehicles.
NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said: “NSRI Gauteng and NSRI Hartbeespoort Dam are assisting the joint emergency services and risk management, fire rescue services, Johannesburg emergency services and Gauteng energy health services at the West Rand in Johannesburg.
“From about 4.30am (today, Friday) calls started being received from people affected by the flood waters brought on by heavy rains.”
Flash floods, missing people and traps-ins are among the most reported cases as a result of the stormy weather.
“Initially the issues started in the Florida area with Florida rescue services. A lot of rescue operations are currently taking place also in Soweto along the Klip River and also in Lenasia.”
Lambinon added: “To date from this morning (Friday), emergency services have dealt with at least a minimum of 150 rescue operations. There are cases of missing people and this is an ongoing operation and it is expected to go on for quite some time.”
The NSRI was set to boost resources in order to assist with emergency medical response.
Among other issues reported yesterday was an incident in a Florida river, where a man was forced to evacuate his car that had got caught up in the floods. He climbed a tree and waited for help to arrive.
The Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services reported that in Kliptown, a taxi driver was rescued from his taxi which was floating in the floods. Three family members were rescued from their home in the area after it was submerged in water.
In Naledi, said the Joburg EMS, an 82-year-old woman had to be rescued from her home after a boundary wall collapsed.
“Many other homes in this area have also been affected by the floods,” said spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi.
And in Eldorado Park, six people were rescued from a cemetery after being stuck in trees for safety from the floods.