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Flood-hit Western Cape braces for another cold front and more rain

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
A view of the washed away R303 main road flooded from the Olifants River and cutting off the town of Citrusdal following a week of severe weather and flooding in the Western Cape
A view of the washed away R303 main road flooded from the Olifants River and cutting off the town of Citrusdal following a week of severe weather and flooding in the Western Cape
Image: REUTERS/Nic Bothma

The Western Cape is bracing for another a cold front, with heavy rain expected to batter the Cape winelands and Overberg region on Sunday night.

In the meantime disaster management teams and humanitarian organisations have been focused on getting aid to residents of Citrusdal, in the Olifants River Valley, which has been cut off after roads were severely damaged by the torrential rain.

Wouter Kriel, spokesperson for the provincial environmental affairs and development department, told SowetanLIVE's sister  TimesLIVE the death toll remained at two.

Large parts of the province have been hit by heavy rain which has displaced communities and damaged infrastructure.

“Today the focus is on taking aid to people in the Citrusdal who were cut off and unreachable,” said Kriel.

The Gift of the Givers said on Saturday teams were considering using boats to transport supplies to Citrusdal residents after its truck could not get through.

But Kriel said “there's clear skies today so helicopters can fly in and trucks have been able to get through”.

The weather for the rest of Sunday should be OK, so we are using that opportunity to get to people and deliver aid.

“The City of Cape Town is continuing with mopping up operations. There are still areas in the townships that are flooded,” said Kriel.

He said the department was briefed by the water and sanitation department at a meeting on Sunday morning that “all the flood peaks in the rivers have subsided”.

“The Berg River is flowing slightly higher than its normal winter flow rate. The Breede River still has a lot of water, it's very full. 

“These rivers are still very full, a little bit of rain can change things, so we are watching them very carefully.”

He said the heavy rain did have a positive effect on the dam levels.

“Our dams are full, which is good news. Two weeks ago we were talking about a dry winter and whether we would need water restrictions come next summer, so that's good news.”

“We are expecting another cold front, which is due to hit us tonight and tomorrow.

“The weather service has told us that areas will see the heaviest rain is the Cape winelands and portions of Overberg. But we are working with nature, so its unpredictable.”

The Cape winelands district has already been hit, with almost 1,000 people displaced in Rawsonville.

“There was an informal settlement next to the river that was severely affected and those residents are being housed in the town hall and being assisted by NGOs.”

Kriel said they are watching “the new cold front very closely”.

TimesLIVE


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