Drakenstein Municipality on high alert amid continuous downpours and flooding

Parking area in Paarl flooded.

Heavy rains and gale-force winds have caused flooding across the Western Cape. Picture: Supplied/Radio KC 107.7

Published Jun 15, 2023

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Cape Town - As heavy rains continue to pour down in the Western Cape, the Drakenstein Municipality has raised its concerns as flooding continues to wreak havoc across its region.

On Wednesday, the Berg River in Paarl burst its banks, causing substantial flooding in northern parts of the Winelands town.

According to the municipality’s executive director for Community Services, Gerald Esau, the flooding was intensified by the deliberate opening of the sludge spillway at the Wemmershoek Dam, an effort made to regulate water levels and protect properties.

He said the municipality’s recovery teams were on the ground accession the issues.

“Yes, some of the major roads in and out of the Drakenstein municipal area (including Paarl) have flooded, similar to what happened in December 2022. In Gouda, Vlakkeland and Drommedaris, roads were entirely closed but have been reopened to start mop-up operations in the areas,” he said.

The following affected areas include: Berg River Boulevard, Jan van Riebeeck Road, Van der Stel Street, Lustigan, Kolbe Street, Blommendal, Main Road South, Marais Street (Wellington), Annie Benjamin Street, Zuidmeer, the industrial area in Wellington (Westhoven), Distillery Road, Skool Street, Simondium, Vlakkeland, Gouda entrance road and Drommedaris.

Walls have collapsed at Non Pareille Street, Foxglove Street, as well as Jan Phillips Road.

Esau said the municipality has distributed sandbags and plastic sheets to address the immediate needs of affected residents.

“Those affected are strongly advised to seek alternative shelter with their family and friends until the weather conditions stabilise. Homeless individuals have been directed to shelters where they will receive warm meals, dry clothing, and blankets,” Esau said.

“The municipality is currently overwhelmed with requests for assistance at private properties, and property owners are urged to take preventive measures in anticipation of the heavy rainfall predicted for the upcoming weekend,” he said.

Concerns have also been raised over burials scheduled for the weekend.

“There are concerns regarding funerals scheduled for this weekend. Drakenstein’s cemeteries are currently inaccessible, posing challenges in providing dignified burials.

“The municipality will contact the undertakers to determine whether the services will proceed as planned,” Esau said.

He said its road engineering teams and traffic services are collaborating to clear the affected catchment areas. Traffic officers have been deployed to critical points along roads.

Esau further issued a warning to all motorists to be vigilant while on the road.

“A warning has been issued to all motorists to drive carefully. Possible potholes could be covered with water and as such not visible. No major traffic-related incidents have been reported, but the municipality is monitoring the situation,” Esau said.

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