The cold front hammering the Western Cape has led to localised flooding, leaving thousands of residents with severe damage to their homes.
Localised flooding has led to around 4 000 structures in the Western Cape being affected, with emergency shelter facilities primed to assist those who find themselves unable to occupy their homes.
The cold front currently sweeping over the province has done some considerable damage, as heavy rains, gale force winds and cold temperatures wreak havoc on informal settlements across the province.
EMERGENCY SHELTERS AVAILABLE
Western Cape Disaster Risk Management (DRM) spokesperson Charlotte Powell said that the rainfall has led to a number of areas being affected, with homes in Khayelitsha, Du Noon, Philippi, Langa, Gugulethu, Masiphumulele, Mfuleni, Delft, Hout Bay, Macassar, Sea Winds and Nyanga all jeopardised by the heavy rain.
“Due to heavy rainfall over the last few days, localised flooding was experienced in informal settlements across the city,” she said.
“In the areas assessed by Disaster Risk Management officials, they have found approximately 4 000 structures have been affected.”
She said that emergency shelter facilities were provisioned to assist residents whose homes have become impossible to occupy.
“No emergency shelter was activated, although this does remain a service that affected residents can access, should they wish.”
“DRM also informed SASSA so that they can provide humanitarian relief to those affected.”
City departments are continuing with mopping-up operations today, with the rain having subsided for now, although more rain is expected over the weekend.
“The Transport Department is clearing the stormwater system to expedite the drainage of floodwater and providing sand and milling to the affected informal settlements while the Informal Settlements Department is also busy with assessments and providing residents with flood kits,” said Powell.
FLOODING ‘IS OUR REALITY EVERY YEAR’
Anelise Makubalo, a Langa resident whose home was severely flooded, told that flooding is a part of their lives that they have come to expect.
“Every time when it’s the winter season, this is our reality,” she said. “Our homes get flooded.”
“I don’t know what to do anymore, it’s hard staying in these shacks,” she said tearfully. “I’m hurt, my cupboards have been destroyed. After winter I’ll have to buy everything that was destroyed by the water.”
Sibusiso Brown, community leader from one of the Cape’s affected informal settlements said that there was not enough forthcoming support for those who endure the flooding every time a cold front hammers the area.
“We have never been assisted here,” he said. “All we get here is soup kitchens… that kind of thing. That’s all we get.”
“What we need now is warm blankets,” he said.
Powell said that the services have been offered to residents but have not been accepted because they are wary of leaving their valuables behind.
“The City’s facilities are available for emergency sheltering and will be made available if evacuation is required. However, residents don’t want to take up the offer because they don’t want to leave their belongings behind,” she said.