Mopping up and damage assessment continue after storm

10 April 2024 | SANews

“Although the extreme weather is over, the public are asked to please be aware of potentially dangerous conditions in large parts of the province,” Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said today.

During the Joint Operations Meeting hosted by the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) it was highlighted that many secondary roads and low-level river crossings are still flooded. The following road safety aspects were highlighted for the public:

  • Please obey all road signs.
  •  If you are driving and come across flooded roads, please take great care.
  • If the water is too deep for you to see the roadway, turn around and take another route.
  •  Where roads are underwater, the roadway may have been damaged or washed away.
  •  There may be obstacles under the water that you cannot see.
  • Water flow may be strong enough to wash your vehicle away.
  • Keep yourself and your loved ones safe on the road.

Rock falls and mudslides will remain a real danger for the next week or more, and the public are asked to remain vigilant in this regard.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde inspected the Bot River at the N2 earlier today which was washed away during heavy rainfall last year. He also visited the Buffelsjag River bridge near Swellendam which was overflowing as a result of the heavy rainfall. “I was relieved to see that the N2 at Bot River withstood the recent heavy rainfall. I appeal to the public to please exercise extreme caution on our roads following the severe weather.”

Premier Alan Winde said that the focus now shifts to humanitarian work, such as identifying people who lost their shelter and access to basic amenities during the storm. “Through the coordination of our Department of Social Development, we are working closely with the NGO sector, local municipalities, as well as national departments to ensure that affected people receive shelter and food.”

Municipalities will now start with damage assessments with the support of the Provincial Disaster Management Centre and relevant government departments. Once compiled, the PDMC will approach the National Disaster Management Centre for a disaster classification, which is the first step in applying for additional funding to repair damages.

In the Garden Route, it was reported that most estuaries are subsiding from the very high levels reported yesterday. Gamkaskloof is still flooded, with reports of a total of 12 people possibly needing evacuation. The Gamkapoort dam, which reached a highpoint of 154% late last night, has already dropped to 146% early this morning. There will be focus today on evaluating the conditions of the Matjiesvlei and Huysrivier area, also with the possibility of some people being cut off from main access routes.

According to the South African Weather Services no additional weather warnings are being issued, although light rain during the day, and possible showers later in the afternoon will persist over parts of the Southern Cape today.

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