Rain brings misery to Cape shack dwellers

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flooded shacks CAPE ARGUS A woman and her baby walk through puddles of muddy water in Lwandle, Strand. Photo: David Ritchie

Thousands of desperate people living in informal settlements have sought help from the City of Cape Town after heavy weekend rains swamped their homes.

By Saturday, disaster risk management teams had provided relief to 1 705 households and 6 730 people.

On Sunday, an additional 593 people in 257 households were hit by torrential rains.

Cold weather is set to persist on Monday with a low of 11°C and a high of 14°. Partly cloudy weather is expected on Tuesday, with clear skies on Wednesday.

Some light showers are predicted for Thursday night into Friday, according to the SA Weather Service.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, of the city’s disaster risk management unit, said 480 people were being housed in a community hall in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village.

Assessors were sent to Lwandle in Strand, Masiphumelele in Fish Hoek, Kosovo, Brown’s farm and Siyahlala in Philippi and YA and YB Sections in Khayelitsha.

Disaster risk teams also went to Blikkiesdorp, where about 500 people were illegally occupying units which had been flooded.

“We provided some sand bags for the units where there was standing water,” Solomons-Johannes said.

Once assessment has been done, disaster risk teams provide the necessary sand, plastic sheeting and sandbags, meals and blankets.

In Lwandle, residents of Wag ’n Bietjie Three settlement said on Sunday that they needed concrete, not sand, to keep out the rain.

Along soggy pathways near a marsh, disaster teams had spread out rocks and broken-up concrete to harden the ground, while residents spent the morning sweeping out water puddles that had collected in their shacks since Friday. Many piled their wet clothing in dry sections of their homes.

Resident Bongiwe Zayiya said she had found some wooden pallets to mount her bed on. She had three children and a grandchild and complained that conditions were not good for them.

“All the clothes are wet and the children have to go to school,” said Zayiya.

She said the sand the city provided was not helping because “it just washes away” when it rains.

Sithembiso Wedu, chairperson of the SA National Civics Organisation (Sanco) in Lwandle, said Wag ’n Bietjie Three was “one of the most challenging” parts of the area when it rained.

He said they had called in the city three times this weekend and the assessors had arrived yesterday.

“We want sand, we need (plastic) sails, but if they can get cement, it would be best,” he said.

Zwelethu Klaas trudged through mud in his home with work boots, a pair of Wellingtons, as she showed how water seeped in through the front door.

“There’s really nothing we can do about it,” Klaas said.

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Cape Argus


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