The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre was activated to coordinate support needed in the Central Karoo, Garden Route, and Overberg areas.
Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs, and Development Planning, Anton Bredell said the areas have been without electricity since Saturday.
“The power outage affected large parts of the interior of the Western Cape when Eskom suffered multiple powerline failures due to thunderstorms. Eskom confirmed that seven powerline towers collapsed over the weekend, and ground crews are currently assessing the damage,” Bredell said.
“As we do not have an indication on how long it will take to restore the powerlines, we must plan for support to critical functions such as water, sewage, hospitals, and schools in the affected areas for the next few days,” he said.
“Also, the weather predictions for this week show heatwave conditions for the Central and Klein Karoo as well as the possibility of further isolated thunderstorms. This adds complexity to the electricity outage as cold chains and water supply are even more critical during these conditions.”
In the Central Karoo, Leeugamka, Merweville, Laingsburg, Sutherland, and Prince Albert have been affected. In the Garden Route District, the town of Ladysmith is affected, and in the Overberg District, Napier, and a substantial portion of the surrounding rural farming community, including the area between Wolwengat up to Pearly Beach, are also affected.
Bredell said an assessment is currently underway which will inform the support provided to the affected communities.
“Support can be in the form of trucked-in water, bottled water, generators for boreholes that provide drinking water, or generators for wastewater systems. We will be communicating directly with the affected communities as information becomes available,” Bredell said.
Humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers has deployed its volunteers and trucks to the Klein Karoo for urgent assistance to various clinics and hospitals in the area.
“Laingsburg, Prince Albert, Leeu Gamka and Merwewille were the hardest hit towns. Gift of the Givers has received requests from the Western Cape Disaster Management teams, municipalities, and health facilities for urgent assistance with water as most of the towns' boreholes are washed and unable to function due to the towns not having electricity,” Gift of the Givers spokesperson, Ali Sablay said.
He also stated the power utility estimated repairs would take 10 to 14 days.
“Gift of the Givers teams will be distributing five-litre bottled water to all the major hospitals, clinics, old age homes, and schools in the affected areas,” Sablay said.