As mopping-up operations continue across the Western Cape after a storm wreaked havoc at the weekend, the provincial government stated it has recorded unprecedented rainfall.
Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs, and Development Planning, Anton Bredell said the recent severe weather incident has now shifted from saving lives to recovery and humanitarian aid coordination.
“Unprecedented rainfalls have been recorded, with the Overberg region receiving 142.6mm at the Overberg new weather station for the period September 24 to 26. Stellenbosch measured 194.2 mm of rain over the same period, and Molteno in Cape Town recorded 141.8mm, according to data supplied by the South African Weather Services (Saws),” Bredell said.
He thanked all the different disaster units, law enforcement, rescue services of the province, and municipalities who worked throughout the long weekend to help save lives and are now providing humanitarian assistance where needed.
Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde also expressed his appreciation for all the hard work from all enforcement agencies, emergency services and NGOs.
Winde has urged residents to exercise extreme caution as the disaster response now shifts to assessments of the extent of damage and mop-up operations.
He said this will take time and many affected areas are still not accessible.
“I am devastated by the loss of life. My thoughts are with their families and loved ones,” Winde said.
He said the families of the deceased are being informed before further details are shared with the media.
The City of Cape Town confirmed eight people within its municipal region died due to electrocution.
“The City of Cape Town informed us that approximately 6,000 people have so far been identified as in dire need, but these numbers will increase over the next few days.
“In the rest of the province, the Overberg region has been hardest hit, with several roads still closed and towns such as Arniston and Struisbaai being cut off via road access. Many roads are still closed, and this is making support functions more complex. We are asking the public to remain patient in this regard,” Bredell said.
He said a number of people have been identified who are in dire need of assistance which range from basic supplies to medical evacuations requiring airlifts.
“Although it is still too early to calculate the cost of this storm, if viewed in the context of the June floods, and the recent coastal damages due to storm surges, this is becoming a very expensive winter for the Western Cape.
“Moving forward, the focus must be to further invest in early warning infrastructure and to make sure that new infrastructure is designed with adjusted climate change parameters in mind,” Bredell added.
On Wednesday, Winde and members of his Cabinet will be giving an update on the response to the storm.