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Dam wall bursts after huge storm

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This caused water, gathered in the retention dam during the heavy downpour, to stream into their houses

SURROUNDED: Several houses were flooded when a massive rainstorm resulted in the wall of the Kagisho retention dam breaking.

DISASTER struck on Wednesday evening when the afternoon’s massive rainstorm resulted in the wall of the Kagisho retention dam breaking, flooding several houses in the neighbourhood and leaving them inaccessible.

Residents of Kagisho yesterday waded through the river of water that streamed from the dam where its bank had collapsed, leaving a gap of about two metres in the cement wall.

This caused water, gathered in the retention dam during the heavy downpour, to stream into their houses. The wall broke around 8pm on Wednesday evening.

Residents said that while the heavy rainstorm had already caused severe damage to their homes and belongings, the situation deteriorated into “absolute chaos” after the dam’s wall broke later in the evening.

“We had just cleared some of the rain water from our homes following the storm, when we saw and heard this massive river of water coming towards us from the dam. It completely flooded the road and quickly engulfed several houses. At certain places the water almost reached our windows,” residents said.

They added that “this was not the first time” (the dam’s wall had broken) and slammed the Sol Plaatje Municipality for “not doing anything”, even after they submitted claims for damages incurred during a previous incident.

One resident, Antie Morie, stood knee-deep in the water surrounding her blind son’s house and pleaded with authorities to allocate a new house to him, saying that he, as a blind person, could not navigate his way out of a flooded house.

The house is seemingly in the dam’s flood plain and was by midday yesterday still completely surrounded by water.

Workers from the Sol Plaatje Municipality were on the scene yesterday and offloaded sand, which was used to construct a temporary sandbank where the wall had collapsed.

Residents, however, pointed out that the sandback would not work and called for a more permanent solution.

They threatened to take to the streets in protest should the municipality not “immediately” pay attention to their concerns about the dam, adding that the flooding was becoming more frequent.

Many also pointed out that their children were unable to go to school yesterday, as their clothes and suitcases were drenched.

Municipal pokesperson, Sello Matsie, yesterday confirmed that officials were on the scene in an attempt to rectify the situation, adding that the municipality would work towards strengthening the structure.