Home South African Western Cape braces for more havoc

Western Cape braces for more havoc

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Thousands more people in the Cape could be left homeless this week, adding to the 5,000 already displaced when gale force winds accompanied by heavy downpours destroyed their homes at the weekend.

Large waves crash over the Sea Point promenade. Damage due to inclement weather was first reported on Thursday and escalated over the weekend, with the South African Weather Service adjusting a Level 6 warning for winds to Level 8. Picture: Armand Hough, Independent Newspapers

CAPE TOWN – Thousands more people in the Cape could be left homeless this week, adding to the 5,000 already displaced when gale force winds accompanied by heavy downpours destroyed their homes at the weekend.

Damage due to inclement weather was first reported on Thursday and escalated over the weekend, with the South African Weather Service (Saws) adjusting a Level 6 warning for winds to Level 8.

It is expected to be a cold week until Friday, while the weather service also warning of additional fire dangers in the Garden Route district.

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said on Sunday morning that ward 99 in Khayelitsha was their priority as nearly 1,000 structures had been destroyed on Thursday.

“This left close to 4,000 people without shelter for the current cold and wet conditions. Humanitarian aid, including hot meals, blankets and other support, is being offered,” said Bredell.

Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Sonica Lategan said assessments were still under way in Philippi, Asanda Village and Mfuleni.

In Endlovini, where about 800 structures were impacted by strong gusts of wind overnight on Thursday, the City of Cape Town was in discussions with the provincial and national governments about shelter for persons needing assistance. Relief efforts were under way and the Gift of the Givers had set up a base in Khayelitsha to distribute meals and blankets.

“Reports of flooding in informal settlements have been received from the Strand and Macassar areas. The City’s informal settlements management branch is providing assistance to affected residents,” said Lategan.

Gift of the Givers project manager Ali Sablay said they had been busy assisting in informal settlements, focusing mainly on Khayelitsha.

“Informal structures have either been damaged or completely blown away by the wind. In Khayelitsha Ward 99, we were able to provide about 1,0000 meals.

“Calls also came from Makhaza this morning with 300 people also affected in Gugulethu and Kraaifontein. We have dispatched teams and we are still conducting assessments,” said Sablay.

Lategan said several roads had been impacted by the heavy downpours and fallen trees.

Eskom in the Western Cape said that multiple network faults had affected over 1,400 customers in Rawsonville, Tulbagh, Wolseley and surrounding farms.

Oudtshoorn Municipality reported power outages in one area and a truck that toppled over in Meiringspoort due to the wet road and gale force winds.

The SA Weather Service extended warnings for disruptive snow until Monday.

The Franschhoek Pass was closed due to snow and the Huguenot Tunnel due to power issues for outbound and inbound vehicles.

George Municipality said it remained on high alert as high waves and strong winds posed a significant threat to coastal communities and infrastructure.

“The municipality has activated a contingency plan that integrates various services to effectively manage the anticipated floods in the coastal areas. Residents in Victoria Bay are requested to move their vehicles to the caravan park for the night,” it said.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the muliti-disciplinary disaster co-ordinating team would remain activated until the impact of the weather had been addressed.

“These weather episodes take a toll on some of our most vulnerable communities, and the City is fortunate to have numerous NGO partners who are ready to assist at a moment’s notice, with meals, food parcels, blankets, personal hygiene items and baby packs, among others, to help communities in need.

“Anyone who wishes to make a donation to general relief efforts, but also just to ease the load on our NGO partners, is encouraged to do so. Donations can be non-perishable foodstuff, personal hygiene items (soap, toothpaste, face cloths, sanitary towels), nappies and baby formula, as well as blankets and construction materials, like wood and corrugated sheeting,” said Smith.

The City has made fire stations available as drop-off points. These are situated at Sir Lowry’s Pass, Strand, Goodwood, Ottery, Roeland Street and Lakeside.

Alternatively, call the Disaster Risk Management Centre Donations Line on 021 597 5042 between 8am and 6pm or direct an e-mail to disaster.donations@ capetown.gov.za

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