Ongoing rains cause more flooding

The flooding Lourens River thunders under the last hurdle, the little bridge at the entry to Beach Road at Strand, before entering the ocean. PICTURE: CAROLYN FROST

Ongoing heavy rains in the Helderberg Basin has seen people being evacuated, informal settlements flooded, trees uprooted and rivers being closely monitored.

The City’s Disaster Risk Management spokesperson, Sonica Lategan, says the situation at Victoria Road at the N2 remains unchanged with roads still closed at this point.

Reports of heavy flooding in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village has caused Sir Lowry’s Pass Road to be closed in both directions as well as Clarence Drive, Gordon’s Bay.

City reports released earlier today made mention of the Lourens River bursting its banks in some parts. “The situation is being monitored by all relevant departments,” Ms Lategan told Bolander.

In regards to evacuations in local areas, the City says flooding in Somerset West has thus far resulted in one evacuation carried out by the City’s emergency teams.

“Residents of a retirement village have been moved to a nearby church, while some have opted to stay with friends. A food and distribution point has been set up at the Rusthof Methodist Church in Strand,” Ms Lategan said.

Local ward councillor Carl Punt reported flooding in streets, located close to the river in Goedehoop and Strand North.

People are urged to stay clear from streets, in Strand area, including Algoa, De Ruyter, Enslin, Marais, Joubert, Brand, Union, Grey and Herchell streets. Kays Caravan Park, Victoria Street and Victoria Park is also flooded, and should be avoided.

Mr Punt warned people to stay off the roads. “Extra vehicles on the road worsen the situation so people should rather stay at home.”

The area on the corner of the N2 and Victoria Street close to the substation are also flooded with high levels of water and residents are urged to avoid this area.

Other affected areas, as reported by the City, include informal settlements in Faure and Sandvlei where residents requested evacuation assistance.

In another incident, a house in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village has collapsed and residents have been evacuated from the home. “Structural engineers have been approached to attend to the situation,” the City stated in a media report.

City teams continue to be dispatched in locally affected areas. “Teams have started work to address the impacts, where the prevailing weather conditions allow,” Ms Lategan said.

“Given the sheer volume of affected areas, the City is prioritising repairs and or actions where there is a risk to public safety.”

She asked residents to be patient as a delay in response to service requests may be experienced.

With ongoing rainfall, the City asks that the public be cautious on the roads, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams, where water levels are above your ankles.

“If trapped in a vehicle during a flood, abandon it and climb to higher ground. In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level, and switch off electricity at the supply point to the building,” Ms Lategan advises.

Residents are encouraged to report any incident presenting a risk to public safety to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre at 021 480 7700.

Roads in Somerset West CBD has not been spared the brunt of flooding as Bizweni Avenue, pictured, has been closed as the flood waters from the swollen Lourens River have penetrated the area, rendering it impassable for motorists, and entering low-lying properties and homes. PICTURE: CAROLYN FROST
The flooded Lourens River, pictured at Main Road, Somerset West, where blankets and mattresses, and other belongings of informal dwellers, have been swept away. PICTURE: CAROLYN FROST