Two people missing following devastating Vaal floods – Maile

Two people missing following devastating Vaal floods – Maile

More than 300 hundred people have been affected by the recent flooding in the Vaal area. 

Lebogang Maile
Twitter: @LebogangMaile1

According to Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development MEC Lebogang Maile two people, including a child, remain unaccounted for. 

While no fatalities have been reported, hundreds of homes and roads were damaged when an additional two sluice gates at the Vaal Dam were opened to release the swelling waters caused by heavy rains. This brings the total number of open sluice gates to 12. 

Affected areas include Lochvaal, Vanderbijl Park and the surrounds. 

“There’s about 329 people who were affected by this unfortunate disaster… There’s two of them who are missing, and I think one of them is a child, and there are two families that have refused to be evacuated,” Maile says. 

He says relief operations have reached most victims, with some families housed at local schools and halls. 

“There are families that have been evacuated, there are NGOs that have come to the party to work with us. The municipality has been working with the other organs of the state, including the provincial disaster management centre. So, we are merely here to reinforce.” 

ALSO READ: Vaal Dam floodgates remain open amid heavy rains

Maile also cautioned against political rhetoric that encourages land invasions, especially where communities build homes along flood lines. 

Images of homes submerged in water have been shared on social media, including informal settlements along the river banks, where residents have also lost their valuables. 

“There are people who are on the flood lines that were not supposed to be there, and they occupied and invaded land illegally because they were mobilised by people who want votes, and now when there’s a crisis we must respond. That’s gambling with the lives of our people, it’s populism that’s not going to help us,” the MEC says.

Maile says regular maintenance of infrastructure, such as stormwater drains, could have helped avert some of the destruction in the affected communities. 

The MEC says it would be too soon to estimate the cost of the damages. 

The department of water and sanitation says it continues to monitor water levels in the Vaal River System to ensure full storage capacity and safety of infrastructure. 

LISTEN TO more news Jacaranda
Jacaranda FM

Show's Stories