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Cape Town - Mandy Plaatjies’ bed was surrounded by murky floodwater in her tiny shack on Thursday.
Plaatjies is one of at least 12 000 people in Cape Town who have been hammered by this week’s winter downpours – with warnings of more stormy weather and flooding to come.
Plaatjies and other residents of the Siqalo informal settlement waded through knee-deep water that flooded their homes on Thursday.
A mini-river of murky brown water formed in the centre of the informal settlement. Adults and children were walking around barefoot.
Sewage and other debris floating in the water made its way to the doorsteps of the flooded homes.
Plaatjies and several other residents said the two blankets and food they received from the city’s disaster team did not solve their problem.
“When our homes are flooded they come and give us food and two blankets, but when it rains the next day, those blankets also get wet and we still don’t have a place to sleep. Those things do nothing to help us.
“We need houses,” said Plaatjies, a mother of two who has lived alone for two years. She said that because of her poor living conditions she had to send her children to live with her family.
“When it rains like this I can’t even see to myself, so how can I look after children too? If they were here, they would get sick like the other people’s children,” she said.
There is no let-up yet, and the Disaster Risk Management Centre remains on high alert.
The weather service warned of gale-force north-westerly winds blowing at 65-74km/h between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas this afternoon.
It said high seas with wave heights of 6-9m were expected between Cape Point and Port Alfred on Saturday.
Disaster Relief Management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said: “Further heavy rain will cause flooding in low-lying areas across the Cape Peninsula and other parts of the province.
“We are preparing for the additional rainfall that will exacerbate the flood-risk situation on the Cape Flats as the water table will significantly increase.”
More than 12 000 people – 3 030 families – living in high-risk waterlogged areas including informal settlements in Philippi, Strand, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Samora Machel, had been “inconvenienced” by the heavy rains.
On Wednesday, 1 748 adults and 178 babies in Masiphumelele were moved to a nearby hall after their homes were flooded.
Mayor Patricia de Lille appealed to Capetonians to help the displaced. She said the city’s disaster relief management team and partners were helping to distribute relief packages.
“As much as we want to assist every resident who has been affected by the current storms, we are not always able to do so due to the strain on already limited resources.
“As such, I appeal to all businesses, community organisations and residents to contribute anything they can to help those who are affected by this,” she said.
Several roads were flooded in the city, including the N1 and Lavis Drive in Bishop Lavis.
The Cape Town leg of the Engen Knockout Challenge, a national under-17 soccer tournament, has been moved to the weekend of August 23 and 24 due to the heavy rains.
* The salvage team managed to turn the stricken Kiani Satu cargo ship a further 10 degrees on Thursday, but the swell remained too low to refloat the vessel.
Plans were under way to try to refloat the ship – which ran aground off Buffels Bay near Knysna more than a week ago – on Friday or Saturday when big swells are anticipated.
A decision has also been taken to remove oil from the ship by air.
On Thursday, between 10 and 20 two-ton drums for removing oil were brought to the scene by helicopter.