South Africa

CAPE OF STORMS PHOTO ESSAY

Western Cape residents pick up the pieces after downpour

Western Cape residents pick up the pieces after downpour
The bridge over the Kingna River, the main entrance to Montagu , is flooded after heavy rains. The three pillars on the right show how high the floodwaters were when its three worst floods hit the town, in 1981, 2003 and 2006. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

As mopping-up operations continue, Daily Maverick visited Western Cape towns affected by the recent flooding.

The Western Cape was hit by heavy rain last weekend, only two weeks after a spring tide wreaked havoc in coastal regions. Rivers burst their banks and some towns were hit hard.

The R62, which links Robertson to the N1 via Worcester, was closed for a day, leaving many holidaymakers stranded.

The Avalon Springs resort in Montagu recently revamped its entertainment area and had its grand opening two weeks ago. This area was inundated when the river overflowed and was covered in mud when Daily Maverick arrived. 

western cape floods

Gavin Hatherley, general manager at Avalon Springs in Montagu, says recent renovations cost about R28m. The upgraded pool area was among the facilities hit by the Kogmanskloof River when it burst its banks after the heavy rainfall. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpours

Dee Hatherley stares in disbelief at the damage at Avalon Springs. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpour

The newly renovated entertainment area in Avalon Springs, Montagu, before the damage. (Photo: Supplied)

Several rooms and the reception area were also affected. Furniture and kitchen appliances had been moved outside and almost everything was covered in mud. 

Staring in disbelief at the muddied pool area, general manager Gavin Hatherley said the recently completed renovations had cost R28-million.

western cape downpour

Eyssen Road in Montagu, covered by floodwater after the heavy rains. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpour

Train tracks underwater along the banks of the Nuy River next to the R60 near Robertson. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpours

A section of Langverwagten Road to McGregor washed away. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Sir Lowry’s village was hit with mudslides and crews were busy clearing the roads on Wednesday morning. Mopping-up operations will continue throughout the week.

Municipal workers were hard at work while residents pitched in with spades to help remove debris from the streets. 

western cape downpour

A mudslide ripped through Sir Lowry‘s Village after the storm. Many shacks were covered by mud with water still trapped inside. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpour

A resident peers through the window of a shack. The door has been blocked by furniture floating in the floodwaters. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpour

Yoliswa Mfinyieze and a friend sit on a car buried in mud. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpour

Shacks in Rasta Kamp in Sir Lowry’s Village hang precariously over the settlement’s river after the storm. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

western cape downpour

Phyllis Mapempeni (62) who runs an NGO specifically for women, children and people affected by substance abuse. Operational in Bredasdorp when the recent destructive weather hit, she and her group of women volunteers immediately began feeding people in need of a warm meal. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Shacks were hit hard by the floodwaters, with mud reaching halfway up some front doors. Fridges were seen floating in the water. Some residents couldn’t access their shacks because furniture floating inside blocked the door.

Children were out in the streets while adults gathered at community halls waiting for a hot meal.

Helper Mbukwana and his neighbours were busy clearing a path for the water to drain from his shack. His partner, Yoliswa Mfinyieze, and a friend sat on the roof of their car buried in mud nearby.

On Tuesday, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis declared the disaster a “major incident” to unlock more funds to help residents return to normality. DM

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