The City of Cape Town is gripped by the first of a series of cold fronts which made landfall on Sunday and could last until Wednesday. The South African Weather Service initially reported that parts of the Western Cape received more than 120mm rain between Monday and Tuesday.
According to Eyewitness News, all the City’s emergency teams had been deployed on Tuesday to assist residents affected by heavy rains and flooding.
Some of the city’s worst affected areas include informal settlements in Khayelitsha, Ottery, Langa, Strand and Delft, and several roadways across the city have been flooded.
Some areas in Mitchells Plain, Bridgetown, Claremont and Grassy Park are also experiencing weather-related power outages and the City’s electricity department is working to restore power.
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said: “There are areas where storm water drains are still blocked and where we have to do more in terms of winter readiness for the July rains. The teams have done a great job. All of our teams are out responding to the areas and hopefully, they will deal with all of the areas inundated.”
Residents affected by flooding havoc
Countless Capetonians have been affected by flooding caused by the heavy downpour of rain.
A Bonteheuwel resident, Gale Piet, expressed her disappointment in the City’s preparedness for winter rains. She and many other Cape Town residents were helpless as they watched the rising water approach their front doors.
“This has been going on for the last 10 years,” she said, as reported by News24. “If they could just clean the drains! My paving is so damaged.”
Piet reported that the City of Cape Town did not clean the storm drains often enough to handle the water flow in the area, even after the City recently embarked on a “massive storm drain clearing operation”. She mentioned that the “openings were not covered with net to catch heavy items that clogged the pipes either”, but that she did not get an efficient response.
“I’ve complained about it, but I am told I am a keyboard warrior,” said Piet.
Some schools and community centres also experienced severe impacts due to localised flooding, with Bishop Lavis as one of the hardest-hit areas.
The Bishop Lavis Community (BLAC) Day Care Centre reportedly had to close because flooded roads prevented healthcare workers from getting in. The facility will reopen once mopping up operations have been completed. Bishop Lavis Action Community spokesperson Amanda Davids reported that pensioners were stranded inside their homes, and Bishop Lavis ward councillor Johanna Martlow said even children were kept from writing their exams because they could not access their schools. Schools in Philippi, Macassar, Strand, Khayelitsha and Langa were also affected and would have to reschedule Tuesday’s exams.
“The rain has really caused disruptions among many in and around the area. Most of the houses in the area have water that has started to run in. I couldn’t even go inside the residents’ homes because of the amount of water that has since flowed in,” reported Martlow.
News24 also reports houses completely flooded, appliances ruined, and tiles lifting off floors in Bonteheuwel.
Khayelitsha ward councillor Thando Pimpi said shacks were filled with water, particularly in Green Point, Qandu, Sikalekhekhe and Marikana.
Residents in informal settlements of #CapeTown say they want more intervention from the City of Cape Town. The City says it has deployed a various teams in flood affected areas #capefloods #ewn pic.twitter.com/mMzSeG1mAk
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) June 14, 2022
“People are in a disaster. They haven’t slept and eaten. Even their groceries are full of water,” added Pimpi, appealing for food donations for the communities affected.
Communities stepping in to assist
The Gift of the Givers began fanning out in Bishop Lavis, Langa, Ravensmead, Gugulethu, Mfuleni and Kraaifontein to offer humanitarian assistance as soon as the flooding started.
“Our teams are working around the clock to offer any assistance where possible. We also preparing to head out to Masiphumelele in Hout Bay where flooding has wreaked havoc in the area. Our call centre has been inundated with calls from residents across the mother city requesting assistance,” said Ali Sablay, Gift of the Givers project manager.
The City of Cape Town’s disaster management centre also stepped in and was assisting in Kleinvlei, Ravensmead, Goodwood, Strand, Riverside, Bonteheuwel, Belhar, Maitland and Bellville South. They were also “providing milling and sand to raise floor levels in the informal settlements in Delft, Khayelitsha, Nomzamo, Crossroads, Philippi, Gugulethu and Nyanga”.
Residents in Strandfontein took matters into their own hands by sweeping water out of their yards, as pooled rain blocked driveways.
Between Monday and Tuesday, Kirstenbosch saw the highest rainfall at 124mm, closely followed by Grabouw with 122mm. Bellville recorded around 105mm, and the central areas of the metro recorded between 81 and 90mm.
Picture: City of Cape Town / Facebook