At least 11 people die after Western Cape flood

by MMC
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A man carries an elderly man across a flooded road during heavy flooding following a storm in the village of Sir Lowry, near Somerset West, September 25, 2023.

The village of Sir Lowry’s Pass in the Western Cape is one of the worst affected areas.

At least 11 people were killed after heavy rain and strong winds hit South Africa’s Western Cape province, including Cape Town, over the weekend, leaving a trail of destruction.

Authorities warn the death toll could rise as floodwaters recede.

The destructive weather conditions flooded homes, ripped off roofs, destroyed crops and damaged roads and other infrastructure.

Rescue teams are still searching for people who may be trapped in their partially submerged homes.

Eight of the 11 people who died were electrocuted in an informal settlement when waters flooded illegal connections to power lines.

Seventy-two primary school pupils and ten adults were left stranded at a seaside resort in the town of Oudtshoorn after the nearby Le Roux River overflowed. They were rescued Wednesday morning after the waters subsided.

Around 200 farm workers remain stranded in areas cut off by flooding. Efforts are being made to save them.

More than 80 roads were closed and at least 15,000 homes were cut off from the electricity grid, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said.

Train services in parts of the Western and Eastern Cape provinces have been suspended.

The flooding has also seriously affected the region’s agricultural land, including its famous vineyards, and the impact on crops is expected to be severe.

View of a washed out road between Bot Rivier and Caledon following heavy rains in the Western Cape, South Africa, September 25, 2023

Rivers overflowed, washing away parts of some main roads

People walk past houses buried in mud following heavy rains in the village of Sir Lowry's Pass, Western Cape, South Africa, September 25, 2023.

Floodwaters submerged parts of homes in the Western Cape, including in the village of Sir Lowry’s Pass.

City of Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis signed a major incident declaration calling for additional resources and relief measures to deal with the aftermath of the rainfall.

The city also closed the popular Steenbras Nature Reserve and Gorge hiking trail to assess the impact of the flooding.

Anton Bredell, the provincial minister for environmental affairs, said helicopters were searching for trapped people. “We’re expecting the worst there,” he said.

The devastating rains, which ended on Monday, came a week after larger-than-normal spring tides hit the region.

Climate change has been blamed for some recent weather incidents in South Africa.

In 2022, flooding in KwaZulu-Natal led to the deaths of more than 430 people, while the coastal town of Gqeberha almost ran out of water last year.

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