South Africa

PHOTO ESSAY

Citrusdal hit hard by heavy Western Cape rains, floods

Citrusdal hit hard by heavy Western Cape rains, floods
Water streams out of sluice gates at the Clanwilliam Dam. The water levels were the highest recorded in 30 years. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

Lashing rains battered the Western Cape between 14 and 19 June, causing mudslides, flooding and the displacement of many residents. The small town of Citrusdal, known for producing oranges, was cut off for days after the Olifants River washed away the main entrance from the N7 leading into the town.

When our team arrived a few days after the initial flooding, the road was still closed. All bridges over the Olifants River had been washed away.

The only access was via a narrow gravel road from Clanwilliam that meandered precariously across the mountain along the river. It took more than 90 minutes to get to the town.

None of the shops had electricity and the streets were full of people milling about, unsure of what to do. Most of the citrus trees alongside the Olifants River were under water.

Flying over the area on a food drop-off with Gift of the Givers, sections of the swollen river came into view. Food parcels and blankets were delivered to those whose access to the N7 had been cut off. DM

Vuyoluethu Mjoli outside his flooded home in the informal settlement of Mnyamandawo, Citrusdal. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

A truck dumps sand on the flooded road, one of the main entrances to the town, 20 June 2023. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

The Mnyamandawo informal settlement along the banks of the Olifants River in Citrusdal. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

The Western Cape government, Gift of the Givers, West Coast disaster Risk Management, the SANDF and Cederberg Fire Protection Association organised a humanitarian aid mission to remote areas around Citrusdal that were cut off. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

Blankets and food parcels from Gift of the Givers at Doringbos, which were flown in by helicopter as Doringbos was cut off from the rest of the world due to flooding, 21 June 2023. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

Water-logged farms along the banks of the Olifants River in Citrusdal. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

The Olifants River, 21 June 2023. (Photo: Brenton Geach)

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