South Africa’s Cape Town hit by more storms, with 4,500 displaced by flooding and damage


CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — The South African city of Cape Town and surrounding areas were hit by more storms on Thursday that ripped roofs off homes and caused widespread flooding, forcing at least 4,500 people to leave their homes and damaging at least 15,000 buildings, authorities said. The devastating weather started a week ago.

Multiple cold fronts have been battering the region on Africa’s southwestern tip since late last week, bringing record rainfall in some parts and gale-force winds. City officials said the bad weather was expected to last through the weekend and possibly into next week.

Cape Town’s Wynberg district was littered with damage on Thursday morning after the latest front struck overnight, with strong winds blowing off roofs, destroying parts of homes and other buildings and toppling electricity pylons.

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

At least 4,500 people were displaced and 15,000 buildings were damaged in and around Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape province before the latest storm on Wednesday night. These numbers are expected to rise.

JP Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member responsible 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 over the past two days.

Many homeless people lived in the impoverished, informal settlements on the outskirts of Cape Town, where the metal and wooden shacks are particularly vulnerable to high winds and flooding.

Schools in Cape Town and other nearby areas, including the famous Stellenbosch wine region, were closed. Earlier in the week, snow covered the streets, a highly unusual occurrence following the extreme cold fronts that swept in from the Atlantic Ocean.

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

Provincial disaster management authorities had ordered the evacuation of a number of people in the Citrusdal farming area and parts of the wine-growing region around Stellenbosch, which is about 48 kilometres inland from Cape Town, due to flooding.

Authorities were considering controlled releases 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 hit by cold fronts in the winter months in the middle of the year, bringing heavy rain and strong winds. But it is unusual for multiple fronts to collide in a short period of time.


AP Africa News:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top