Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Damage assessments begin following deadly Western Cape storm

The Overberg region in the Southern Cape will start damage assessments while humanitarian relief efforts continue after a severe winter storm led to localised flooding, caused the deaths of four people, and left nearly 400 people in desperate need of assistance. 

The storm made landfall on Tuesday last week, with the heavy rainfall finally stopping over the weekend. 

Struisbaai, which was hit hard by the storm, recorded close to 174mm of rainfall over a four-day period. During the same period, 4 to 7 May, the Garden Route town of Ladismith recorded just less than 44mm. 

The Western Cape’s MEC for local government, environment and development planning, Anton Bredell, said the rainfall was “more than the area has seen in the past six years”. 

Provincial disaster management has confirmed the deaths of another two people who were reported missing in the Riviersonderend and Stormsvlei area. Last week, two people died in the Bonnievale area after their vehicle capsized and was trapped in floodwater.  

Heavy rainfalls and strong wind caused severe flooding in Struisbaai, Riviersonderend, Malgas and several rural areas across the Southern Cape. About 30 farmworkers in the Malgas settlement near the Breede River were evacuated on Thursday.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week that 57 families had to move when their homes were flooded in Struisbaai. Some of the families were being housed by residents or at the two municipal caravan parks. 

However, the local disaster management regulations only provide a three-day assistance period for the people being housed at the municipal caravan parks. 

In accordance with the regulations, 27 families will have to leave the caravan parks on Monday 10 May. But Millison Saptou, Cape Agulhas disaster officer, gave her assurance that the situation would be assessed and support provided for families still in need.  

Several road closures are still in place due to riverbanks overflowing. On Monday morning, roads to Arniston and Struisbaai were still closed. According to Saptou, the roads might open later on Monday, as water levels were subsiding rapidly.

Mop-up operations are taking place and humanitarian relief efforts continue. 

“Cleaning up has begun across the region while formal damage assessments will begin this week. The Western Cape disaster management remains on high alert and people are urged to call the emergency services in event of an emergency,” Bredell said on Sunday. 

Saptou said that hundreds of families still desperately needed help.

The storm left 400 people in the Oukamp informal settlement in Struisbaai North “extremely vulnerable” as their homes were flooded and their possessions swept away by floodwater. 

Saptou acknowledged the assistance and support given last week by relief organisations, but added that it was not nearly enough to help those affected to get back on their feet. 

“They have nothing. Many people lost everything. It is not a liveable environment to go back to,” said Saptou. The South African Weather Service has not issued any new alerts for the Western Cape, and rainfall is only expected over the weekend again.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

Oral submissions to inquiry on local government elections start next...

The hearings will be open to the media and the public, under strict level-three regulations

Education employees queue for Covid jabs, but some may have...

People who have had Covid-19 in the past 30 days or who have had a flu shot in the past 14 days will be vaccinated at a later date

Mabuyakhulu: I took the R1-million, but not from Savoi

The former ANC provincial treasurer says the donation was used to pay for its conference in 2008

NPOs warn of a possible surge in human trafficking

In 2020, the national human-trafficking hotline reported 696 potential victims to authorities for further investigation, a 46.5% increase from the previous year
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×