Heavy rains cause havoc on city’s streets

A section of Sandown Road was completely flooded.

Last week’s stormy weather may have helped to stave off Day Zero but it also caused serious flooding, leaving many stranded and even injured.

Social media was abuzz with pictures of roads which had been transformed into tiny streams. A video clip on Facebook even showed a man paddling a canoe along Blaauwberg Road. Kim Jurgens, spokesperson for Community Medics, said on Thursday morning, April 26, a woman fell and injured her ribs when her house flooded in Table View.

“Our respondents on duty stabilised her and she took private transport to hospital,” said Ms Jurgens.

Richard Bosman, the City of Cape Town’s executive director for safety and security, said 578 structures and approximately 2 000 people were affected by the heavy rains in areas including Strand, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Macassar. Their informal settlement management made assessments and handed out flood kits to affected communities, he said. He said the unblocking of drains is ongoing by the roads and stormwater department.

“At the beginning of every year, the flood risk assessment team meets to identify flood risk areas, categorise and formulate structural and non-structural flood mitigation measures that could be implemented in advance of the approaching winter. After the initial meeting at the beginning of February, the team meets every fortnight until the end of October,” said Mr Bosman.

Measures that have been implemented include the unblocking of drains and underground water pipes, cleaning of canals, digging of trenches for channelling of rain water, increasing the frequency of removal of solid waste, issuing of flood kits and the implementation of structural engineering solutions in informal settlements that are at risk.

“There is also the evaluation of health-related risks and public education; awareness by means of workshops and pamphlet distribution in communities at risk; and weather advisories to the public via the media. Various emergency shelters have been identified to help minimise the disruption to lives and community activities in the event of a flooding incident,” he said.