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Four boys electrocuted as storm, strong winds wreaks havoc in the Western Cape

Flooded Covid Informal Settlement near Mfuleni. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Flooded Covid Informal Settlement near Mfuleni. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 26, 2023

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Cape Town - Four boys were killed when they allegedly stepped into water where live electrical wires lay in the flooded area of the Klipfontein Mission informal settlement near Crossroads. The wires were part of illegal electricity connections in the area.

Along with their tragic deaths, strong winds and persistent rain caused havoc in the Western Cape following a Level 9 warning of disruptive rain and gale-force winds by the SA Weather Services (Saws) from Sunday to Monday.

The Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town recorded damage including flooded houses, communities being evacuated, roads washed away, trees uprooted and electricity outages.

The City’s disaster co-ordinating committee, composed of all the City’s departments and relevant external services, has been activated and remains in effect to manage the impact of the storm.

On Monday, emergency services assisted six children trapped in three different houses in Strand and evacuated them to Strand Fire Station.

Disaster Operations Centre recorded incidents of flooding in informal settlement areas such as Shuku-Shukuma and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Rasta Camp, Riemvasmaak, Old Faure Driftsands, Mfuleni, Bellville South and formal houses in areas including Durbanville, Bo-Kaap, Belhar, Strand, Gordons Bay and Knorhoek.

A roof was blown off at a private property in the CBD, while a Nutec dwelling in Hout Bay was also damaged due to wind. The N2 at Victoria Road in Strand was severely affected. At Wemmershoek Dam, the sluice gate has been opened to mitigate downstream flooding, while the Lourens and Eerste rivers have burst their banks.

Macassar flooded as Cape Town has been hit by series of severe weather related incidents affecting informal settlements and formal housing and roads. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Macassar flooded as Cape Town has been hit by series of severe weather related incidents affecting informal settlements and formal housing and roads. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Macassar flooded as Cape Town has been hit by series of severe weather related incidents affecting informal settlements and formal housing and roads. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
A car stuck as cars navigate their way through a flooded road in Strand. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Cars navigate their way through a flooded road in Strand. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

“Teams have started work to address the impacts, where the prevailing weather conditions allow. Given the sheer volume of affected areas, the City is prioritising repairs and/or actions where there is a risk to public safety,” the City reported.

In other reports, Mowbray Cemetery was also damaged due to the weather conditions. There’s excessive water flooding the grave site, with fallen trees and some threatening to fall. The cemetery’s operations are to continue as usual, but residents are advised to hold back on their visits.

A resident from Strand, Angela Jantjies, said she woke at about 1am yesterday to take her medication when her feet landed in water that filled all the rooms in her house. All her belongings in her RDP home were left damaged.

The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) reported that a section of the pavement was washed away early on Monday when the Bot River burst its banks.

“All emergency services have been deployed through the Road Incident Management System and are on hand to assist road users who find themselves in affected areas. Once the water levels subside, an engineering assessment of the damage can be done, in order to inform the road repair process and timelines,” Sanral said.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell, said there was extensive flooding across the province. The cut-off low storm system was expected to bring torrential downpours, exceeding 100mm in places in the Overberg, Cape Winelands, and Garden Route districts.

“Our dams are full, and the soil is already saturated after good rains this winter. Such heavy downpours in a short space of time can lead to flash floods, mudslides and general flooding of roads and residential areas,” said Bredell.

Gift of the Givers spokesperson Ali Sablay said: “Our teams engaged with the Theewaterskloof Municipality and disaster risk management teams in assisting with evacuations and providing urgent aid.”

Premier Alan Winde said the Provincial Disaster Management Centre has been co-ordinating all efforts to manage the situation. He appealed to residents to remain calm and not to take any unnecessary risks.