Photo Essay

When rains came to Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha

By Leila Dougan 3 July 2018

Monwabisi Park residents have been digging trenches throughout the informal settlement in order to prevent rainwater from flooding their homes. 2 July 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan

Heavy Cape Town rain continued throughout July 2, and while many considered the downpour a reprieve from the drought, the weather was bittersweet for those living in informal settlements who were forced to endure freezing temperatures, strong winds and flooding.

The City of Cape Town reported that 4,000 informal structures across the city had been affected and many families had been forced to abandon their structures due to flooding. Mandy Thomas, spokeswoman for Disaster Risk Management in the City of Cape Town, said they did not have to offer alternative accommodation as many affected residents had decided to stay with friends or family members. Deputy caucus leader JP Smith said the City has been trying to encourage residents in informal settlements to raise their structures to avoid flooding and digging trenches between structures to encourage water runoff. DM

Mandy Thomas, spokesperson for Disaster Risk Management for the City of Cape Town says residents can call the disaster management centre, they will then do an assessment to figure out whether residents need to be evacuated, “there are various levels of flooding, whether it’s knee height or ankle height,” she says. 2 July 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan
A boy is reflected in a puddle in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha. Parents in the area have expressed concern about their children getting ill when flooding occurs. 2 July 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan


A little girl runs through the rain in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, 2 July 2018. Deputy caucus leader, JP Smith says that the situation residents living in informal settlements face are “challenging” during times of heavy rain, especially those living in low lying areas which are particulary prone to flooding. Photo: Leila Dougan


Lolo Malotana (32) has been living in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, for 20 years. She says the area has reached very low temperatures and each year residents need to figure out how to protect themselves and their belongings from flooding. “The water comes from the road through the houses, my neighbours also have the same problem,” she says. “We are waiting [for a house] for about seven years now”. 2 July 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan
A few personal items including a clock and table are all that remains in one of the shacks in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, after heavy winter rains in Cape Town. 4000 informal structures have been affected across the city. 2 July 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan
Deputy caucus leader JP Smith speaks to journalists as Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha where thousands of residents have been displaced as a result of flooding. He says the city’s ability to intervene and install stormwater systems which will reduce flooding is “difficult” in low lying areas that are being occupied. He says the flooding is “small” and “localised” compared to rpevious years. 2 July 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan
Residents in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, are using bricks and sandbags to keep their structures secure during winter storms. 2 July 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan

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