Eastern Cape going back to normal after floods

2011-07-06 14:13

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Johannesburg - Life was slowly returning to normal in East London and Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, after heavy rains and flooding wreaked chaos, said the emergency services and municipalities.

"There has been some lovely sunshine today. Life is getting back to normal," said Nelson Mandela Bay municipality (Port Elizabeth) spokesperson Kupido Baron.

"Raised water levels will eventually subside," he said.

The police and National Sea Rescue Institute were part of a joint operations’ centre which was helping residents in need. The centre received 274 calls on Tuesday.

Baron said two people were rescued from their houses during flooding on Tuesday. One person was in a wheelchair.

"We also have suction machines to suck out water today," he said.

Township residents displaced

Buffalo City (East London) metro spokesperson Keith Ngesi said about 4 000 informal settlement dwellers had been displaced.

"The municipality and the city metro are looking at addressing the situation to identify those in need of temporary accommodation," he said.

Some would be sheltered in community halls.

Electricity was also affected in parts of East London, including Beacon Bay, Gonoubie and Nahoon.

Eastern Cape Emergency Services spokesperson John Fobian said that mopping up operations were still taking place and it was difficult to say how long these would take.

"I understand that insurance companies have also been inundated with calls from people whose homes were damaged."

Police divers and search and rescue dogs were combing the area to make sure that nobody was trapped or in a life threatening situation, he said.

There was a significant amount of damage to roads and buildings in both municipalities.

Part of Marine Drive in Port Elizabeth collapsed because of the rain and a number of buildings in East London's city centre was also damaged.

Natural disaster - MEC

The SA Weather Services has predicted a few showers for Wednesday.

Eastern Cape local government and traditional affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyana visited displaced people and flooded homes on Wednesday.

"This was a natural disaster, no one expected this to happen," he said in a statement.

"Our thoughts are with all the people affected by these floods. We are working hard to provide [a] co-ordinated government response to the challenges brought by the floods in our communities.

"Officials from relevant departments are meeting to concretise this response," he said.

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