Evacuations anticipated for residents along the Orange River

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The Upington-based ZF Mcgawu District Municipality in the Northern Cape is bracing for an overflow of water. Several dams upstream, including the Bloemhof Dam, have released water into the Orange River system.

ZF Mcgawu District Municipality spokesperson, Martha Manyehe says that the rising Orange River is already of concern at low-lying areas in Keimoes.

“Currently the Kai Garib Municipality is the one that we are monitoring closely as we are beginning to receive reports of the effects of the increasing water levels in those areas. We have engaged in awareness activities to inform residents living on the banks of the Orange River. The contingency plans addressed issues of evacuation, rapid response and medical emergencies should these arise”, added Manyehe.

Video: Residents living along the Vaal River in Bloemhof evacuated: Sentleeng Lehihi

Business owners with properties along the Bloemhof Dam and Vaal River at Bloemhof, North West, are counting their losses. This is after many property owners downstream were warned to evacuate the area following the overflow of both the Bloemhof Dam and Vaal River.

Eight sluice gates were opened at the Vaal Dam since the weekend following huge water inflows due to recent persistent torrential rains.

The Bloemhof Dam is currently at over 111% capacity. If the current torrential rains persist this may exacerbate the risk to life and property and prolong the absence of business activity.

Video: Tri-Nations Angling Senior Championship to continue at the Bloemhof Dam in spite of floods

While residents of Bloemhof, who stay along the Bloemhof Dam and the banks of the Vaal river, are scrambling for safety following flooding in the area, anglers, from South Africa, Namibia and Australia, continued with their Tri-Nations Senior Championship at the dam.

Some anglers have expressed concern about litter in the water. The South African Freshwater Bank Angling Federation international coordinator, Annatjie Lubbe says angling at the rising Bloemhof dam also challenged them.

“The challenges that we had on the very first day, was that the owners where we were all staying phones us and told us that we had to evacuate. So we stopped the competition on Tuesday at 12 o’clock where we would normally finish at 15:00. We moved the bags three times already and with all the debris and stuff that’s coming into the dam, that gets into their lines it’s very difficult but they are anglers and they face all of these challenges because they love what they are doing”, says Lubbe.