George executive mayor Leon Van Wyk at the Oewer Street site where the George Mobile JOC has set up to assist with logistics and communications. Replacement pipe being carried to site. Picture: George Municipality
George executive mayor Leon Van Wyk at the Oewer Street site where the George Mobile JOC has set up to assist with logistics and communications. Replacement pipe being carried to site. Picture: George Municipality

Repairs under way in Southern Cape after floods wreak havoc along the Garden Route

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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Cape Town - Mop-up operations continued in earnest after the heavy rainfall in the Garden Route that affected areas from George to Plettenberg Bay, causing extensive damage to roads and homes.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell thanked all the emergency responders, disaster officials and municipal officials for their leadership and hard work over the past two days.

“Their efforts made a huge difference and we are grateful to see the impact of the storm was much less severe than originally thought.”

Bredell said George saw the worst of the storm, with a handful of lower-lying areas worst affected, while several roads in the region were damaged.

Confirming this, George Municipality said they had their hands full with service-related issues associated with heavy rains and flash floods across the city, with residents still reeling from the devastation of the floods.

George Fire and Disaster Management chief Neels Barnard said the municipality had been dealing with flood-related incidents including road closures, related peak traffic, damage to infrastructure, and matters of safety.

The Kaaimansrivier in flood. Emergency services had their hands full rescuing a number of residents and vehicles following heavy rains that flooded large parts of the Garden Route District Municipal Area on Monday morning. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
George executive mayor Leon Van Wyk at the Oewer Street site where the George Mobile JOC has set up to assist with logistics and communications. Replacement pipe being carried to site. Picture: George Municipality

George municipality said they received 148.5 mm of rain from Monday to this morning which led to extensive flash flood damage to both private and municipal infrastructure.

“This resulted in several pipe bursts affecting water supply to a large portion of the city. The municipality is managing this crisis and continues to circulate water trucks to strategic areas throughout mostly the eastern side of the city.”

The municipality said the water situation remained critical with reservoir levels supplying the eastern and CBD areas very low.

The George Fire and Emergency Services said they were aware of 26 formal houses that flooded, and to date over 800 families of informal structures have been identified as affected by flooding and requiring assistance.

Beaches, streets and rivers being cleaned, refuse collection backlog were being cleared with Community Services hard at work cleaning up the beaches including Victoria Bay (79 black bags collected), Herolds Bay (220) and Ballots Bay (137).

Executive mayor Leon Van Wyk said: “I would like to thank the residents of George for their patience and understanding during this unprecedented weather disaster. We have now seen the extensive infrastructure damage that such flash flooding can do, with our water infrastructure taking the bulk of the force of the water.”

George residents were also still suffering from power outage with the municipality's electrotechnical teams attending to over 30 high voltage repairs and countless low voltage matters since Monday.

The municipality’s Social Services department spent most of yesterday collating a list of families and structures worst hit by the floods and which are located in informal settlements- which would be used for the various humanitarian relief operations currently underway in George and various offers of assistance for those affected by the flash flooding.

“A family of 7 persons was sheltered in a Thembalethu community hall on Monday evening and have since returned to their structure,” said the municipality.

The Anglican Bishop of George, Brian Marajh, called on local and regional government agencies, civil society and the churches to work together to help the most vulnerable people of the southern Cape cope with the floods.

Any donations of food, blankets, clothing, mattresses, bedding, toiletries could be delivered to the Garden Route Food Pantry located at 1 Glaze street, next door to Takealot depot.

George Municipality said they would handle the assigning of donations to those in need, those wanting more information could contact Carl on 0828260731 or Tillie on 0721881207

The South African Weather Service released a Level 4 Yellow Warning for Damaging Winds for George and other areas from the morning of Friday 2 this week with a prediction of gale force winds gusting up to 80-100km/h.

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Cape Argus

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