News Column

Storm havoc Storm havoc

June 16, 2014

Sapa and Warren Fortune

|MORE than 8 000 informal settlement residents across Cape Town were affected by floods over the weekend, the city's Disaster Risk Management Centre said yesterday.

These included 2 000 households in Khayelitsha, Strand, Vrygrond, Lotus River, Gugulethu, Delft and Philippi, spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said.

More than 800 blankets, 7 000 meals, 70 flood kits and 200 mattresses have been distributed so far.

Solomons-Johannes said Khayelitsha was the worst affected area, with about 7 000 people affected by the flooding, which began on Saturday.

"Strong winds resulted in a storm surge since Saturday night that will extend until later today (Sunday) along Table Bay and Cape Agulhas."

Structures on or near the coast were at risk.

Waves of six to nine metres and strong onshore winds could intensify the impact of the storm surge.

"When this happens, the rise of the water level above the high tide can reach areas that might otherwise have been safe."

The National Sea Rescue Institute urged people to use extreme caution around the coast as cold fronts brought high swells and dangerous sea conditions along the coastline.

"Big sea swells brought in by a series of cold fronts together with the full moon spring tide has resulted in dangerous sea conditions around our coast, and extreme caution is advised, particularly to anglers fishing from shore, boaters, paddlers and bathers, and we urge the public not to venture along harbour walls where waves could sweep over."

Weather conditions were expected to improve today, with only light |showers in Cape Town.

Parts of Salamander Road in Hangberg caved in on Saturday.

"The roads are old here and the foundations are not stable. When we have a lot of rain then we see damage like this all around us," resident Angelo Joseph, 37, said.

"There might be even more damage to come as we are still in the beginning of winter."

Storms River Way in Manenberg lived up to its name yesterday with most of the road flooded. In some parts the water was knee high.

Some residents could not step outdoors with water reaching front gardens and blocking driveways.

In Port Alfred, a 26-year-old man was rescued from a river cruise barge that was swept down the Kowie River by heavy winds yesterday.

NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said that the man, who had a job interview at a restaurant on the banks of the river, had tried to rescue the boat after it broke its moorings in the 40km/h wind.

The NSRI's Port Alfred volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched a sea rescue craft to coral the unmanned runaway barge.

"But on our arrival on scene, to our surprise, we found Port Alfred resident Bongani Nkohle on the river cruise barge Sarah-Jane and he was being swept down river," Lambinon said .

"It appears that Mr Nkohle was being interviewed for a job at Ocean Basket, on the banks of the Kowie River when he noticed the barge break loose from her moorings."

"Mr Nkohle apparently told his interviewers that he had to rescue the boat, saying he could not sit by idly while a potential tragedy unfolded in front of him.

"Fully clothed, he leapt into the river and swam after the boat and on reaching it clambered aboard.

"But he was unable to do anything, so he simply drifted with the barge until NSRI Port Alfred arrived," Lambinon said.

After helping to warm a shivering Nkohle, the team towed the barge back, dropping him off at the restaurant where he continued with his interview.

The barge was re-moored.

In Hermanus yesterday, the NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crew were called in after a man was swept off the rocks in front of the beach club, next to the new harbour.

"On arrival, an extensive search commenced for a 68-year-old Parow man missing in very rough sea conditions," Lambinon said.

The man had reportedly been standing on the rocks with a 43-year-old friend from Mitchells Plain. They were taking photographs when both were swept into the surf, Lambinon said.

The Mitchells Plain man managed to get out of the water and confirmed that his elderly friend had disappeared beneath the surf.

Despite an extensive search no sign of the man has been found.

"Police will continue a search and have opened an investigation," Lambinon said.

Meanwhile, a fire destroyed 16 shacks in Khayelitsha's Site C on Saturday morning.

Residents say the fire was caused |by a man who left burning candles |unattended when he went to bed.

Cape Argus

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Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)

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