Heavy rains cause havoc in informal settlements

More than 1500 people, including 57 babies were affected by heavy rains that lashed the city yesterday morning causing heavy flooding and wet conditions in several informal settlements.  Although the city of cape town’s disaster management were deployed to asses the extent of damage in the affected areas., and the human settlements department handed out food kits, there was no evacuation of families to emegency shelters.

“ Our nongovernmental partners will be providing humanitarian relief as in hot meals, clothing and blankets.  No emegency sheltering has been activated,” said Charlotte Powell, of the City Disaster Risk Management.

The extent downpour that occured early yesterday morning left parts of the informal settlements in Khayelitsha, Strand and Gugulethu under water. A temporary relocation areas in Delft was particularly hard hit by the heavy rains, with reports  of 420 flooded structures. The wet conditions affected 500 people in this area, including 57 babies. Powell said that the Red Cross would provide relief to these families, while the city would hand out flood kits. These include sheets of mircon plastics and 500 clouts nails to prepair damaged structures. In Khayelitsha, 36 people were affected when 10 structures were flooded. In Gugulethu, heavy rains damaged 120 structures, affecting 480 people. Two settlements in strand were also flooded. In new village, 80 structures were flooded.

The city handed out kits to the 300 people affected in this area. About 200 people from Soll’s Town were also given humanitarian help when their structures were damaged by the early-morning downpour. Kanana community leader, Portia Matola residents were unhappy with the city’s respopnse to flooding incidents. “ when we call the city to do something they just send food and blankets,  but its not enough .” she said the city needed to provide land so that communities could move to drier areas.

At the launch, the city’s winter readiness plan, JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the metro would do  “everytthing within its power” to minimise disruptions to residents. The city has been working to put measures in place to reduce flooding in low-lying informal settlements, but has also urged residents to move to higher ground or to dig trenches around their shelters to divert rain water. Transport R85 million in this financial year for the maintenance of its stormwater faciities to ensure that drains are not blocked, and an additional R110m for work that needs to be done to repair damage caused by flooding. Last year, 235 533 residents were affected by flooding incidents. The south african weather service has predicted no more rainfall for the rest of the week.