PICS: Western Cape residents facing flooding woes due to persistent winter storm
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Cape Town – ’’Looking for a company to assist urgently with the drying and cleaning of a house and furniture due to overnight flooding.’’
This plea on social media this morning by a Durbanville resident is likely to be a common one as the Western Cape keeps being lashed by a winter storm. It is expected to remain cold and wet for the largest parts of the province until Sunday.
While the Cape Town metro was not hit by the gale-force winds seen elsewhere in the province, the City is continuing to assist affected communities with mopping-up operations due to flooding.
Durbanville resident Janine Louw said flood water had risen to over 500mm in their house overnight. Their pets had to be put on a table and a chair, and barely stayed dry, with some falling over from exhaustion once the water level had dropped, said Louw, movingly illustrated by photos taken between midnight and 3am today at their Bateleur Street residence.
The SA Weather Service has issued a flooding warning this morning in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Theewaterskloof, as well as Saldanha, Swartland, Cape Winelands and Overstrand.
Yesterday, gale-force winds along the Garden Route caused power outages in several areas in the region.
Several houses and structures were damaged all along the Garden Route district, with multiple reports of roofs blown off in Sedgefield, George and Mossel Bay and structural damages reported as far afield as Oudtshoorn and Hessequa. Across the same region there have been reports of power outages and a large number of trees that have blown over.
There have been no reports of injuries or evacuations and no roads are closed. All of the damage is being managed by local municipalities at this stage.
The Disaster Risk Management Centre is continuing with the assessments across the metropole, amid ongoing downpours, said City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith yesterday.
Structures have been affected in a number of areas, including Gugulethu, Wynberg, Valhalla Park, Khayelitsha, Hout Bay, Masiphumulele and Overcome Heights.
The City’s Transport Department is providing sand and milling where it is possible to do so and Sassa has been informed to assist with humanitarian relief.
’’Assessments have found that the majority of the reported flooded areas are situated on land that is not suitable for habitation, like wetlands, waterlogged areas and private land which have been unlawfully occupied.
’’More than 70% of the newly occupied areas, mostly as a result of organised large-scale unlawful occupation since the start of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, have been created on unsuitable, flood-prone land, dams and water retention ponds. The City has been communicating that it expects quite a high number of flooding incidents this year due to the spike in unlawful occupations that have occurred.
’’There are no reasonable engineering flood mitigation measures that can be successfully implemented in these instances due to the flood-prone nature of the land. Assessments continue and the City will continue to help wherever it is possible to do so.
Where humanitarian relief is concerned, SASSA, which is the agency responsible for activating such relief, insists that affected persons be housed in community facilities. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the health and safety precautions that apply to prevent the spread of disease, the City is unable to do this.
Various roads across the city have been flooded and these are being attended to by the Transport Department.
It must also be noted that Covid-19 has impacted on the City’s response to the impact of adverse weather conditions. Regulations mean fewer staff on duty at any one time, which causes delays in attending to incidents.
’’Downpours are expected to continue for the next few days and the City encourages residents to please contact the Public Emergency Communication Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone for any weather-related emergencies.’’
Flood water had risen to over 500mm in the house. The animals 6t put on the table and chair and barely stayed dry. But some did fall over from exhaustion once the water level had dropped.
Several areas across the Western Cape have reported storm damage this morning following the weather warnings received yesterday. The greatest damage has been caused by strong wind along the Garden Route.
Several houses and structures were damaged all along the Garden Route district with multiple reports of roofs blown off in Sedgefield, George and Mossel Bay and structural damages reported as far afield as Oudtshoorn and Hessequa. Across the same region there have been reports of power outages and large numbers of trees that have blown over.
There have been no reports of injuries or evacuations and no roads are closed. All the damages are being managed by local municipalities at this stage.
Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says conditions are expected to remain cold and wet for the largest parts of the province until Sunday.
“Road users should be aware of rubble and trees that may be lying in roads across the province and are urged to drive slowly and carefully over the next few days. Municipalities will continue with mopping up operations during the rest of the week.”
In the City of Cape Town, no major incidents have been reported overnight beyond some additional flooding challenges due to continued rainfall.
“The city didn’t get the gale-force wind (up to 100km/h) seen elsewhere in the province. The city continues to assist affected communities with mopping up operations, supported by the nationally mandated agency SASSA.”
Members of the public are urged - in the event of any emergency - to contact the emergency services immediately. The easiest number to remember is 112. This is a toll-free number and can be dialled from any cell phone.