In photos: Citrusdal cut off from the world

Road into town collapses in flood. Officials are trying to access the town from gravel roads.

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A man risks it all by crossing the swollen Olifantsrivier into Citrusdal.

A woman helps a man cross a part of the R393 to Citrusdal.

Citrusdal residents have been isolated in their town since Wednesday evening after heavy flooding cut off access to the Cederberg town. Some residents are stranded outside with no way to return to their homes.

The main access road off the N7 highway, the R393, collapsed on Wednesday evening during heavy downpours. The rapid flowing Olifants River has blocked access to the town. Residents were standing on each side of the collapsed road when GroundUp arrived on Friday morning. Someone was attempting to cross the river. They eventually made it safely to the other side.

Cars and trucks lined the road to Citrusdal. Stranded drivers have been sleeping in their trucks and bakkies.

People have been unable to leave or enter Citrusdal since Wednesday evening.

Unable to enter Citrusdal, Adrian Fortuin has been sleeping in his truck since Wednesday.

Citrusdal resident Adrian Fortuin has been sleeping in his truck since Wednesday evening. He transports citrus for a living.

“You are looking at the disaster I came across on Wednesday evening,” said Fortuin. “Thursday morning we came to look; it was the same. This morning, the same. There are no alternatives. We’ve just had to sleep in our trucks.”

Fortuin said he wanted to get to his home. He has a wife and a kid in town. “They are safe and I am stranded,” he said.

The broken road is strewn with pipes.

The road flooded by the Olifantsrivier.

Cederberg Municipality spokesperson Anthony Mlata said that a joint operation between the municipality, the provincial government, and the West Coast District Municipality is currently underway.

He said technical teams are trying to access Citrusdal along uncommon routes, either from Clanwilliam, possibly through farms, or from Algeria on gravel roads.

Mlata said that they’ve also appointed a contractor to fix the collapsed road but “have to wait for the weather conditions and the water to subside for them to start”.

However, more heavy rain is expected to fall on Saturday.

Mlata said that once they’ve gained access to the town, they will come up with a workable plan. He said if the situation worsens, they will “escalate” it. “We’re not there yet,” he said.

Contractors are waiting for the water to subside. A tractor stands stranded.

According to a recent municipality statement, about 120 people are being temporarily housed in the Oranjeville Sports Hall after being evacuated from an informal settlement in Citrusdal.

Damage to power cables has left many towns in the Cederberg without or partly without electricity, including Citrusdal, Clanwilliam, and Wupperthal.

The municipality said yesterday that “Citrusdal water infrastructure is under severe pressure and is currently running on a single borehole” and “people must use water sparingly”.

Mouton Citrus orchards, just outside Citrusdal, was flooded.

Marius Daniels, a farm worker who lives and works on the outside of Citrusdal, said he grew up in the area and has rarely seen flooding this bad.

Daniels said that many of the surrounding farms are not operating. Many of the surrounding citrus trees on the farms were flooded. “It’s terrible,” he said.

Farms have been flooded.

TOPICS:  Disaster

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