The City of Johannesburg has confirmed that a 3-year-old girl is still missing following the devastating flash floods that affected parts of Gauteng on Wednesday.
“I can confirm at this stage that six people have died due to the flash flood and a 3-year-old girl is currently missing in Alexandra,” Mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement on Thursday.
The SA Weather Service said more flooding could be a possibility later on Thursday.
There are conflicting reports on the death toll, with services saying either one or two people had died.
Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said a man drowned in his Fiat Uno on the N3 Linksfield. The body was recovered on Wednesday night.
Emer-G-Med spokesperson Max Cohen said two people were confirmed dead on the N3 Linksfield.
“Our paramedics left the scene at around midnight. At that point two people were confirmed dead. One was found during the search and rescue operation and one was found dead as they arrived on the scene.”
Mashaba said Johannesburg “experienced a flash flood beyond the capacity of our stormwater systems”.
“Unfortunately, any severe storm or flash flooding that occurs will result in isolated flooding as the road infrastructure is not designed for these severities,” he said.
“However, I wish to assure the public that JRA is working tirelessly to resolve blockages and repair faulty traffic lights resulting from the flash flood. JMPD officers have also been deployed to assist with traffic control [at] affected intersections.”
Mashaba said EMS were providing emergency medical care, as well as search and rescue services, while disaster management is facilitating temporary accommodation and relief supplies to victims.
The Department of Health and Social Development, in conjunction with NGOs and the Provincial Government, are on the ground handing out blankets and food parcels to those who have lost their belongings, while the Department of Community Development is opening community halls as a “safe and dry shelter”.
Roads to OR Tambo International Airport were flooded on Wednesday, as was a basement parking lot at the airport.
A boundary wall at the Johannesburg Zoo collapsed, spokesperson Jenny Moodley said on Wednesday evening.
“Thankfully there are no injuries. All our staff and the animals are accounted for. The animals are a bit stressed, but they are okay.”
Moodley said the zoo would remain closed on Thursday so staff could assess the damage.
The AA on Thursday urged all motorists to follow basic rules to find the safest way out of a flash flood.
“On days when the weather is heavy, motorists should listen to local radio traffic reports, monitor social media, and check online websites for advisories and cautions. If roads on your normal route are flooded, avoid them and seek alternatives, even if it means you will take a lot longer to get to your destination,” it said in a statement.