Africa-Press – South-Africa. The strong winds and heavy rain that lashed the Western Cape over the long weekend have wreaked havoc, leaving thousands of people destitute and obstructing major roads, which are still closed.
On Tuesday, Premier Alan Winde and officials from various departments provided an update on the province’s disaster management efforts following the devastating storms.
“I am very glad that we are seeing a reprieve in the weather, and we are seeing it subsiding, although we do see that it is moving up towards the Garden Route. I would like to convey my condolences to the families who lost loved ones during this tragic event over the last few days,” he said.
News24 reported that eight people were electrocuted during the flooding due to illegal electricity connections.
Four of them died in the Covid-19 informal settlement in Driftsands, while the other four died in the Klipfontein area.
Six children were evacuated from three houses in Strand and taken to the fire station for safety.
DEVELOPING | Many roads in the Western Cape still closed after rain and flood damage
Winde said officials were trying to mitigate risks of the flood and mop-up operations were under way.
Local government MEC Anton Bredell said they were in the recovery phase.
“We received various reports this morning that many roads are still closed. We have been able to reopen Sir Lowry’s Pass Road, but we also want to caution residents to drive safely,” he said.
Bredell said 2 588 structures were affected in the Cape Winelands, and around 588 people had been temporarily housed in shelters and churches.
“In the City of Cape Town currently there are 1 500 structures that were affected and around 6 000 people affected through houses being flooded or roofs blown off. In Brede Valley around 2 000 people have been cut off from access to roads,” he said.
A total of 233 schools were damaged.
Jandre Bakker, for the Department of Infrastructure, said humanitarian relief agencies were assisting with meals, blankets and supplies like baby packs.
Mobility MEC Ricardo Mackenzie said no timeframe could be provided for when the roads would be reopened.
“In many cases, we are still waiting for the water levels to subside before our roads team can move in to reinstate the damaged roads,” he said.
The provincial health department said the severe weather conditions across the province resulted in health facilities being closed or operating at reduced capacity.
Wayne Smith, the head of disaster medicine, said district hospitals had slightly reduced staff capacity.
“In the rural areas, some clinics had to close because roads to access them have been impacted. Our emergency services have also been impacted by the road closures and damage to the roads,” he said.