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IN PICTURES | Red waters flow into Northern Cape town as flood hits

As the red, blood-like waters which submerged the town of Deben in the Northern Cape began subsiding, one resident has found in it a message from the universe.

“Some say it’s good for us, that this blood-like water is the cleansing we needed,” said restaurant owner Rachel Jacobs.

“We are going through a lot. We are fighting Covid-19, load-shedding and even recession,” she said.

The stream of red water she referred to was caused by the remnants of the iron-ore dust left behind after blasting at the nearby mining facilities.

When the rains brought about by tropical storm Eloise hit the Northern Cape, the Ga-Mogara River filled beyond its brim. The waters swept across the town, collecting the red dust that had covered the town created a sea of red and orange.

Jacobs said the flooding forced her to shut her establishment, the DoringDraad, after her employees were trapped on the other side of the river, making it impossible for them to come across.

Her town was hit with about 117mm of rain in one day, while neighbouring Danielskuil collected about 375mm.

“The whole town is flooded and some people had to evacuate. We also had to move all our animals to safety on Wednesday, but today is not that bad. The sun is shining and the water is starting to subside,” she said on Friday.

Although there were reports of people homes and vehicles damaged due to the storm and flooding, no fatalities were reported.

Johan Zietsman of the local emergency medical services said there were no serious incidents reported.

“I think we are past the worst. The water has subsided substantially,” he told TimesLIVE.

Jacobs said they had heard of one incident where the local policing forum was called out to rescue boys stuck in a tree as they avoided the flood, but they were helped and uninjured.

'Waters swept through the graveyard'

Local farmer Christian Grobler, who has been in the area for more than 30 years, said this was the worst flooding they had seen since 2000. He took to the skies to take pictures of the devastation caused by the floods in the nearby township.

“There were graves that fell in when the waters swept through the graveyard. Other damage I heard about was on six or seven properties,” he said.

His sheep and cattle were safe from the storm.

While the cost of the damage was still being tallied, the Northern Cape government said the worst affected areas were Ga-Segonyana and Joe Morolong in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district.

“A total of 369 houses were affected. Streets were flooded and three sink holes were discovered in Batlharos  and two in Wrenchville. As part of intervention, the municipality used floatable suction pumps and portable pumps to drain water from houses and streets. Efforts to assist affected families through social relief through is advised,” the municipality said.

“In the Joe Morolong municipality, 150 houses in 36 villages were affected and roads were flooded. Floatable suction pumps, portable pumps and water trucks were used as part of intervention. The municipality is applying for emergency housing for the affected families,” it added.

In Phokwane, in the Frances Baard district, electrical power lines were badly damaged and some ripped from the ground. Several houses had their roof tops blown away. Temporary housing has been provided for  affected families.

The provincial government said several vehicles were trapped in the flood waters.


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