ALMOST 6 000 people were displaced in local informal settlements due to three days of heavy rainfall. In Khayelitsha alone, 1 470 homes were affected by the storms, leaving 4 720 people homeless.
At the Nomzamo informal settlement in Strand, 200 homes were damaged, leaving 840 people displaced.
When the Cape Times arrived at Site C in Khayelitsha yesterday, several mothers were standing outside their row of shacks, surrounded by water, cursing the dark clouds.
One woman said: “We are praying that the heavens don’t open up until our children’s clothes and our mattresses and blankets get dry.”
Buyiselwa Mhambi, 26, slipped off her rain boots as she picked up her sick baby and tried to make him comfortable in their damp 2m by 2m shack.
She said that on Tuesday night, water had seeped through their ceiling, wetting the two single beds, blankets, shoes and all their clothes. Yesterday, muddy water still covered the floor and filled their shoes. Rivulets of dirty water made it almost impossible to move between the shacks, leaving no space for people to move their mattresses and clothes out to dry while the sun was out.
Mhambi shares the shack with her boyfriend, their baby and 15-year-old brother. “Everything is wet. And now my child is sick. He has asthma and is running a fever. I have no dry clothes for him,” she said.
Mother of four Mandla Nqayi said: “We don’t have water, electricity or toilets. We only have paraffin stoves to keep us warm, and because we don’t have toilets, we make holes outside. Now … urine and faeces are flowing with the water, causing a foul stench between our homes. This can make our children extremely sick because they play outside.”
Next door, a man stood inside his shack, water covering his ankles.He did not want to be named. Frustrated with his living conditions, he said he would “rather just go back to sleep”.
While no rain fell yesterday, people stuffed the holes in their ceilings and walls with newspaper and pieces of plastic, hoping it would keep the rain out until they found another solution. Many said that as “we are not yet in the heart of winter”, they feared what the season still had to bring.
SA Weather Service spokeswoman Gail Linnow said 14.6mm of rain had fallen in the city on Tuesday. No rain was expected today.