Death toll at 8, SANDF on standby as #CapeStorm continues onslaught

2017-06-07 16:18
The Promenade in Cape Town. (Jan Cronje)

The Promenade in Cape Town. (Jan Cronje)

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WATCH: Massive Cape storm batters Sea Point promenade

2017-06-07 14:00

The City of Cape Town has urged residents in coastal areas to move their vehicles to higher ground as sea swells of up to 12m are expected on Wednesday afternoon.WATCH

Cape Town - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is on standby as the massive cold front moving over the Western Cape hits its peak on Wednesday afternoon, local authorities said.

Five people had been confirmed dead by Wednesday at 12:00, as the storm caused havoc across the province.

A family of four died on a farm in the Drakenstein Municipality due to a fire caused by lightning.

Another person died in Lavender Hill when a building collapsed.

The Eden District Municipality issued a statement saying three people - a farm worker, his wife and their son - had died in a fire in Rheenendal.

LIVE: #CapeStorm - Death toll rises to 8

Fires

Fires were spreading in the area.

"The local Fire Chief, Mr Clinton Manual, has requested any support that the Western Cape to send as the fire now threatens Belvedere, and it is spreading fast toward Brenton on Sea," the municipality's statement said.

Three Working on Fire teams had been dispatched to Knysna.

"The SANDF will be contacted in an effort to get aerial support by means of an Oryx."

WATCH: Massive Cape storm batters Sea Point promenade

Two tankers and a firefighting unit had also been requested from the Overberg District Municipality.

Western Cape provincial local government spokesperson James-Brent Styan said officials were "extremely concerned", especially when it came to coastal areas.

"We are not expecting more rain. We are, however, expecting more snow and stronger winds," said Styan.

"The sea swells will be like nothing this province has ever seen."

'No selfies'

The full extent of the storm was expected to be felt between 14:00 and 15:00.

"We are asking people to please stay inside. Please do not go take selfies at the promenade," Styan said.

Styan was speaking at a press briefing held at the provincial disaster management centre in Tygervalley. Officials at the centre have been on duty since 22:00 on Tuesday, when the centre was activated.

Styan said one SANDF Oryx aircraft had been activated to evacuate people, should the need arise.

He said authorities were extremely concerned about wildfires along the Garden Route, as a large amount rain is not predicted for the area.

"The fire in [Kruisfontein] in a plantation is completely out of control and 13 houses at Springveld were evacuated," Styan said.

Four fires have been reported in the district. One house burnt down along the N2 in Touwsriver.

Styan said disaster management centre is grateful that the provincial department decided to close schools for the day.  

"We have had schools damaged all across the province, roof collapses and trees falling over… just imagine the amount of injuries we would've had if schools remained open," he said.

School damage

Princeton High, Capricorn Primary, Plumstead High, Berglviet High, Vodacom Teachers' Support Centre (Merrydale), Blomvlei Primary, The Vine School NPC, Impendulo Primary, Palm Park Primary and Itsitsa Primary have been damaged in the Cape Town metropole.

In the Cape Wineland's education district, De Tuinen Primary, Riverview Primary and Victoria Primary have been damaged.

All Western Cape Schools will, however, be open tomorrow as local authorities expect storm conditions to abate early tomorrow morning.

In the West Coast, approximately 45 buildings collapsed and the roofs from 13 buildings were blown off.

Thirty structures were damaged and residents from 37 homes displaced in Cape Winelands district municipality. Eighty-nine informal settlements were issued sandbags in the area.

Fifteen people were evacuated in an informal settlement in Malmesbury, Styan said.

Styan said roofs were blown off homes in Grabouw. In Botriver, six families were displaced from damaged homes.

Residents Paarl and Somerset West have been informed about possible flooding in the area.

Electricity disruptions were reported in Albertinia/Stillbai, Tulbagh, Caledon/Greyton, De Doorns, Touwsrivier, Ladismith, Franschhoek, Worcester, Citrusdale and Darling. Water supply in Ladismith has been affected by the electricity disruption.

Styan encouraged members of the public to phone emergency services on 112 from all cellphones.

"We aren't saying you should phone when your cat is missing or if your car gets too much water; resources are stretched thinly," Styan said.

Read more on:    sandf  |  cape town  |  weather  |  fires

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