Shropshire Star

Cape Town hit by more storms, with 4,500 people displaced by floods and damage

Multiple cold fronts have battered the region, bringing record rainfall in some parts and gale-force winds.

Waves rise up over people gathered on the pavement

Roofs were ripped off houses and widespread flooding was reported across Cape Town after more storms hit the South African city.

At least 4,500 people have been forced from their homes and some 15,000 structures have been damaged since the devastating weather began a week ago.

Multiple cold fronts have battered the region on the south-west tip of Africa since late last week, bringing record rainfall in some parts and gale-force winds. City authorities said the bad weather was expected to continue until the weekend and possibly into next week.

Rescue workers repair buildings
Strong winds blew off roofs, destroyed parts of houses and other buildings, and brought down electricity poles (Nardus Engelbrecht/AP)

The Wynberg neighbourhood of Cape Town was littered with damage on Thursday morning. Strong winds overnight blew off roofs, destroyed parts of houses and other buildings, and brought down electricity poles.

The City of Cape Town said its disaster operations centre worked through the night to respond to calls for help from residents.

At least 4,500 people were displaced and 15,000 structures damaged in and around Cape Town and the wider Western Cape province before the latest storm on Wednesday night and those figures were expected to rise.

JP Smith, the Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the city and non-governmental organisations had already provided more than 36,000 meals and distributed 6,000 blankets to affected people in the last two days.

Many people left homeless were in the impoverished informal settlements on the outskirts of Cape Town, where metal and wooden shacks are especially vulnerable to strong wind and flooding.

Waves crash over the promenade
Strong winds and rains have caused widespread flooding, with three major rivers in the province reported to have burst their banks (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)

Schools were closed in Cape Town and other nearby areas, including the renowned wine-growing region of Stellenbosch, where snow lined the streets earlier in the week in a highly unusual occurrence as a result of the extreme cold fronts coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Three major rivers in the province had burst their banks, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said.

The provincial disaster management services had ordered evacuations of some people in the agricultural area of Citrusdal and parts of the wine-growing region around Stellenbosch, which is around 30 miles (48 kilometres) inland from Cape Town, because of flooding.

Authorities were considering the controlled release of water from some dams as a “precautionary measure” to prevent them from overflowing and causing more damage, the provincial government said.

Cape Town and other parts of the southwest coast of South Africa are often affected by cold fronts in the winter months in the middle of the year which bring heavy rain and strong winds. But it’s unusual for multiple fronts to hit in a short space of time.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.