Heavy rain leaves four dead in Cape Town

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cold weather aug 13

INLSA

Homes in Happy Valley, near Blackheath, are flooded after the recent rain. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town - Four people, including three young boys, have drowned, five people remain missing and about 5 000 people were affected as hundreds of city homes flooded during a weekend of strong winds, heavy rain and low temperatures.

And more bad weather is on the way, according to Weather SA, which indicated heavy rain and gale-force winds were expected on Tuesday and on Wednesday before the cold front loses intensity on Thursday and Friday.

The city’s disaster response teams are to remain on high-alert.

The bodies of two nine-year-old boys, whose names have not yet been released, were retrieved from a swollen river on the Vredelus Farm near Worcester on Sunday afternoon.

“When we arrived on the scene, the bodies were already recovered,” Emergency Medical Services (EMS) spokeswoman Keri Davids said.

Police spokesman FC van Wyk said: “It is believed the boys were playing near the river. An inquest docket has been opened.” The families have asked that the boys’ names not be released, he said.

Four men are still missing after their boat capsized in the Keurbooms River mouth near Plettenberg Bay on Friday.

Six people had been on the boat.

Two bodies, that of Leatitia Wildeman, 43, and her eight-year-old son Luan, were found on Saturday in a canal close to the Keurbooms Lake.

Jeffrey Wildeman, his brother Llewellyn, Henry Waits and Roland Figland, aged between 40 and 50, are still missing.

Police have taken over the search operation, said the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Craig Lambinon. Police have opened an inquest docket.

The search for paramedic Miriam Cekiso, 39, is also set to continue by police and EMS personnel once the water in the Cogmanskloof River subsides.

The vehicle Cekiso drove had veered off the R62 road, in Montagu and into the river a week ago.

The city’s disaster response teams assisted more than 5 200 people in 1 337 households at the weekend.

Fish Hoek, Kraaifontein, Blackheath and Nyanga were among the areas most affected, said disaster management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes. He said heavyrainfall across the Cape Peninsula had resulted in low-lying areas being flooded and roofs being blown off homes.

Solomons-Johannes said Chapman’s Peak Drive had been closed since Friday night as a result of gale-force winds and the heavy rain.

The Cape Times visited the Happy Valley informal settlement in Blackheath on Sunday where just a fire and a few blankets were all a blind man and his family of four had to keep warm.

William and Enid Syers, both unemployed, had to place their beds on top of plastic crates to stop them from being soaked. The family had to throw away three bags of ruined clothing.

“It is horrible to live like this. It rains so hard and water comes through the ground. When it rains very hard I get so scared because I get the feeling that our roof will blow off or cave in at any moment,” Enid said as they were sweeping water out of their yard.

Another Happy Valley couple, Joseph and Martha van Rooyen, said the rain caused havoc every year, but there was “nothing we can really do”. The couple’s home was soaked with muddy water and they had to use buckets to scoop out the water. Their clothing, blankets, some of their food and a stove have been destroyed.

Happy Valley resident Patrick Manuel said Saturday’s storm was the worst he had ever experienced. His partner, Anita Andrews, gave birth to their child on Saturday night. “I was nervous and I did not know what to do because my wife was screaming with pain. To make it worse, the bed she was lying on was wet and cold,” he said.

The Cape Times had interviewed Andrews a month ago when heavy rains destroyed her clothes, cellphone, food and ID book. Clothes she had bought for the baby had been soaked. Manuel said some of their neighbours came to help Andrews, and later an ambulance took her to Macassar Day Hospital. “I don’t even know if it is a girl or boy. I don’t have money to go to her,” Manuel said. He said Andrews would live with her mother in nearby Greenfields, Blackheath, while he stays in the shack. - Cape Times

michelle.jones@inl.co.za jason.felix@inl.co.za


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