Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
David MacGregor, Mamela Gowa
and Mike Loewe
AT LEAST eight people died in the Eastern Cape and part of the N2 collapsed yesterday as heavy rains washed away bridges and thrashed at homes.
“There is a huge hole about 25m wide and 50m deep on the N2 by the Pumba Game Reserve between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown,” said Captain John Fobian.
“The road just gave in and collapsed and left a 25m gap and tremendous damage to the road,” he said. It was closed as a result, and Fobian said the road could take more than three months to rebuild.
Fire and disaster management spokesperson Reinard Geldenhuys said six secondary roads in the Overberg region also had to be closed in a weekend of severe flooding and dramatic rescues as people were forced to evacuate their homes.
And the SA Weather Service says it’s not over yet as heavy rain and severe thunderstorms ae expected throughout the country this morning.
Heavy rainfall alerts were issued for the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Severe thunderstorms were forecast for the North West, Limpopo and Free State. Heavy rain was also predicted for the next two days between Storms River and Port St Johns on the Wild Coast.
Extremely cold conditions and strong gale force winds also forced the Table Mountain cableway to close yesterday.
In the Eastern Cape, rescuers fished bodies from the water, a “25m gap” opened up on the N2 between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown as the road gave way, and a bridge on the St Francis Bay main road was washed away.
The latest victim of the floods in the Eastern Cape is a five-year old boy who drowned at Buffalo Flats in East London yesterday.
Fobian said the boy’s body had been found in Duncan Village.
Seven of those who died had drowned, while one died in a car accident on the N2 between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth on Saturday. The collision left four other people seriously injured.
Fobian said a truck overturned on the N2 yesterday.
While the rescue team was on the scene, another accident occurred between two cars.
Geldenhuys said that on Saturday four people had been rescued in two incidents in the Overberg after their vehicles were washed away.
A motorist and her two children trapped in their car after it washed off a bridge just outside Napier had been rescued by farmers.
Rescuers attended to a man stuck on top of his vehicle about 20m further down the same river.
His bakkie had been washed into the river after the bridge collapsed.
Meanwhile, Sunshine Coast police, municipal and fire staff and the NSRI had to assist several people who were forced to flee their homes.
The only road linking the Forest Downs area to Port Alfred washed away and hundreds of residents were cut off from Saturday until yesterday without water or electricity.
Yesterday residents Derek Jacobs and Mark “Turkz” Thurgood built a wooden pedestrian bridge to give people access to food, generators and other provisions.
Stranded 90-year-old Molly Robinson was carried across the makeshift bridge in a chair by NSRI volunteers after she had spent a night alone in
her house without water and electricity and surprised a burglar breaking into her garage.
Another resident, Claudette Brown, estimated damage in the seaside resort to run into millions and said it should be declared a disaster zone.
Sunshine Coast Tourism boss Sandy Birch said yesterday that 57 Port Alfred residents at New Rest informal settlement had to be housed in a library after their houses were severely damaged.
On Saturday at least one Port Alfred house was washed away, while traffic officials rescued a driver who ignored a warning not to cross a low-lying bridge.
The driver’s window was smashed in and the driver was pulled from the vehicle before the car washed away, rescuers said.
Several vehicles in Port Alfred were submerged in low-lying garages and yards and houses filled with water up to 2m deep.
Arrive Alive spokesman Tshepo Machaea said: “There are potholes and it is not easy to fix the damage because the rain has not stopped.” – Additional reporting by Estelle Ellis and Xolani Koyana