Heavy rainfall over the weekend caused havoc across the country, damaging roads and causing flooding in some areas.
According to reports, 35 people were trapped due to the Ladysmith CBD floods on Monday morning.
The lower parts of Ladysmith’s CBD were flooded after the Kliprivier Dam burst its banks on Sunday night.
The police rescue teams used rubber boats to evacuate people from Alexander and Forbes streets, and 35 people were safely removed on Monday morning.
The Al-Imdaad Foundation teams were also on the ground in Ladysmith assisting shop keepers trying to salvage goods and stock as floodwaters continued to inundate large areas of the town.
IN THE FREE STATE:
In Qwaqwa, Free State, the provincial education department has suspended schooling.
The downpours have damaged a large part of Qwaqwa, limiting the movements of residents – including learners and teachers.
According to the spokesperson for the Education Department, Howard Ndaba, MEC Tate Magoe, together with other stakeholders, will assess the situation on Monday and advise schools in Qwaqwa whether they will continue with the suspension.
Motorists were also advised to be cautious on the R711 road between Clarens and Fouriesburg, Free State, due to damage to the road surface.
The R59 between Parys and Sasolburg was also closed due to flooding.
This comes after several warnings for severe thunderstorms were issued by the South African Weather Service ahead of the weekend for the Free State, the Northern and Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Would you know what to do if you were trapped in a flash flood?
If you’re caught in a flash flood, do not drive through or over a flooded road or bridge. Turn back and try a higher route and don’t stay in the flooded area.
If your vehicle is surrounded by water, get out and seek higher ground.
If you are stranded in a tree or building, don’t leave it to enter the flood water. Make alarm and wait for rescuers.
What to do when facing a flash flood
Be very aware of your car’s limitations. If you drive through water that is 15 cm deep or more, your car could lose control and stall. Furthermore, 30 cm of water is enough to float most cars, and 60 cm of rushing water can indeed carry away cars, SUVs and pick-ups.
Do not panic if your car becomes submerged by flood waters. Release your seat belt, roll down your window and get out of the car. If your windows won’t open, let the car fill with water. Once that happens, you will be able to open the doors. Get out of the car immediately and swim to the surface. Do not stay in the car until it sinks.
If you are swept away in fast-moving water, try to make sure your feet are pointed downstream.
If you are swept away, make every effort to direct your body over obstacles rather than under them.
If you are on foot, be aware that you can be knocked down by just 15cm of moving water. If you come upon moving water, do not walk into it.
If you can, try to avoid contact with any flood waters. The water may be contaminated with raw sewage, oil or gasoline, and may also be charged with electricity from down power lines.
Be especially vigilant at night, when it is harder to recognise potentially deadly road hazards.
Do not camp or park your car along rivers or washes, especially during heavy rains or thunderstorms.
Stay informed. Tune in to your local radio station during bad weather.
If a flash flood is issued for your area, get to higher ground immediately. You may only have a few seconds before the danger is unavoidable.
People living in low-lying areas must take special care during storms, as sudden floods might affect them.
Residents living next to rivers and streams must evacuate to a safer place or higher spot when the water level rises.
Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing water; even if the water is 15 cm deep, it can sweep you off.
Do not try to drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly across it.
Teach your children not to swim in rivers, streams and ponds in open areas.
Keep your important documents in a water-resistant container.