Widespread flooding in Cape Town informal settlements

“Almost everyone around here is affected”

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People living in low-lying areas where there are no drainage systems had to leave their homes because of floods that occured overnight after heavy rains. Photos: Sandiso Phaliso

Families living in informal settlements situated in low-lying areas have had to abandon their homes because of flooding after heavy rains in Cape Town on Tuesday night. Many families with children say they don’t know where they will spend the coming nights.

The cold front over the Western Cape is expected to last until Friday, and the South African Weather Service has cautioned people to be vigilant.

Informal settlements in Philippi, Strand, Gugulethu, Mfuleni, Masiphumelele and Khayelitsha are flooded, said Charlotte Powell, City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management spokesperson.

She said numerous roadways have been flooded; there was a report of a mudslide along Philip Kgosana Drive; storm-water drain overflows; uprooted trees and mud on road surfaces.

Nonceba Nobatana had to evacuate her home when heavy rains flooded the two bedroom shack in Malema informal settlement in Philippi on Wednesday morning.

Nonceba Nobatana, from Malema informal settlement in Philippi, said she and four of her children woke up in the middle of the night because their beds were soaked.

Her home, built on PRASA-owned land next to railway tracks, has been flooded before “but this is worse than the previous rainfalls”, she said.

“We have been standing on chairs and beds since the rain started. Almost everyone around here is affected. People are using buckets to take water out but it is a useless exercise because the water keeps coming back into the houses,” she said.

Khunjulwa Sigwayi, also from Malema, said, “Everything is wet. We must be moved from here because there is no way that we can live like this every time it rains. We came to erect our shacks on this land, because during Covid we lost our jobs and could not pay rent.”

“The solution to this problem is providing adequate housing,” she said.

Thembekile Teko, who lives in a formal house in Browns Farm on Sikhwenene Street, said their area was also flooded. “Water was ankle deep,” said Teko.

The cold front that has hit the Western Cape is expected to last until Friday. Above is Malema informal settlement on Wednesday.

Powell said the Jakkalsvlei Canal and the Lourens and Keyser rivers had breached their banks. As a result the Somerset West Eskom substation was affected. The City and Eskom were working together to restore power in the Helderberg area.

Powell said City departments had evacuated learners and residents of St Paul’s Primary School in Faure and accommodation was arranged for them at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Infrastructure on the Old Faure Wine Farm in Macassar sustained water damage.

Various informal settlements in Philippi, Strand, Gugulethu, Mfuleni,Delft, Masiphumelele and Khayelitsha have been flooded. Malema informal settlement is pictured above.

TOPICS:  Housing

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