Roads reopened, informal dwellers assisted, and storm impact assessed

Sunny weather after the storm this weekend has contributed to most of the flood waters being dried up in roads in most parts of Strand and Somerset West. PICTURE: CARMEN JACOBS

After the recent destructive stormy weather experienced across Cape Town and in the Helderberg area, Bolander asked the City for a detailed update on storm damage, road closures, affected areas and the overall aftermath left by the storm on local areas.

Charlotte Powell, City’s spokesperson for the Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC), told Bolander on Tuesday September 26, that they are still busy with onsite assessments in the area, and this will take a while to conclude.

“The City continues working closely with relevant external agencies, through the Disaster Co-ordinating Team, to monitor for, and address impacts from the inclement weather experienced in the past 24 to 36 hours,” she said.

She could, however, confirm that thus far at least under a thousand structures were impacted.

In local informal areas, flooding occurred at Shuku-Shukma and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Rasta Camp, Riemvasmaak, 7de Laan, Sandvlei in Macassar, Old Faure, Driftsands and Morkel Cottages IFS Strand.

Rob Quintas, the mayoral committee member for urban mobility, said residents of informal structures were assisted. “This past weekend the City’s Roads Infrastructure Management depot teams were assisting residents in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Gordon’s Bay, Lwandle, Nomzamo, Rusthof, Broadlands Park, etc., with pumping away water where our stormwater infrastructure was at capacity due to the severe and heavy rainfall.

“The teams also assisted with sandbags in informal settlements where there was a high risk of properties flooding,” he added.

Formal houses where flooding occurred include the areas of Gordon’s Bay, Sandvlei in Macassar, Strand, and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village.

Sir Lowry’s Pass Village is another area badly affected by the storm and was one of the storm-affected areas visited by the City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Carl Pophaim.

“I have visited some of the impacted areas in Klipheuwel, Philippi, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, and Khayelitsha to assess the damage and assistance that is available. Our human settlements, basic services and disaster risk management and safety and security teams, have worked non-stop to assist residents with milling material, relocation, and emergency flood kits where it has been feasible to do so.

“In some areas where the water will take longer to evaporate due to the soil conditions, and where the safety risk is pronounced, City teams will look at draining water where feasible,” he said.

A detailed update on any remaining power outages in the area or its restoration times, could not be sourced, but Beverley van Reenen, the mayoral committee member for energy, said additional staff were deployed to assist with the high electricity call volumes.

Driving out to the affected areas on Tuesday September 26, from what Bolander could ascertain, most of the road closures mentioned in City reports in Strand and Somerset West, including the busy Victoria and Broadlands roads, were suspended and roads reopened.

Mr Quintas confirmed this in response to a Bolander query on Wednesday September 27. “Most of the roads in the area are open today apart from Clarence Drive in Gordon’s Bay; Old Sir Lowry’s Pass and Sir Lowry’s Pass roads (which are still closed for clean-up operations); and Eden Crescent (Sir Lowry’s Pass Village) which is closed due to a partial road collapse,” he elaborated on the current closures.

City teams were seen working on site in some of the flooded areas in the vicinity of Victoria Park and Strand, including the flood-prone area at the substation on the corners of Victoria Road. City staff could also be seen working at the Somerset West Driving Licence Test Centre to clear water and mud off the testing track.

At parts of the Lourens River in Strand and Somerset West, water levels appeared to be back to its normal flow.

Bolander requested an official update on the status of the river’s water levels from the City but received none at the time of publishing.

Roads in Strand, especially those close to Beach Road and in the vicinity of Kay’s Caravan Park, showed evidence of flooding, but most of the excess water in the affected roads were dried up with only muddy debris left behind.

The Lourens River flowing past Victoria Street has seemed to return to its normal flow. PICTURE: CARMEN JACOBS
Waters of the Lourens River flowing through the Somerset CBD was a cause for concern on Monday, but by Tuesday afternoon, the river flow appeared to be under control and no threat. PICTURE: CARMEN JACOBS
Flood waters in the region of Bizweni Avenue had also subsided by late Tuesday afternoon. PICTURE: CARMEN JACOBS