Tales from the flood

2012-10-27 17:05

Eastern Cape deluge could cost R1bn in damages

President Jacob Zuma is expected to announce today whether to formally declare the Eastern Cape a disaster area in the wake of the province’s heaviest flooding in decades.

Eleven people have died across the province because of the deluge.

The damage across the province is estimated at about R1 billion, and there’s a lot of work ahead to restore the province’s infrastructure.

Transport authorities are working to repair large stretches of road that were washed away in last week’s heavy rains.

While government counts the costs, ordinary Eastern Cape residents are trying to rebuild their homes, or
find new places to live.

On October 11, Nomphelo Tata welcomed her first children into the world: a little boy named Stefano and his twin sister Mrompho.

When the twins were just a few days old, the rains started.

Tata, her babies and seven other relatives all shared a small home made of plywood, plastic and zinc in Grahamstown’s lower Zolani, one of the poorest sections of Grahamstown’s sprawling Joza township.

Tata’s grandmother Pumela Ntlanjeni said last week that rainwater flowed down the hillside and right through their front door.

The family tried to keep many of their belongings dry by piling them against a wall, but the holes in their zinc roof meant their efforts were futile.

Zolani ward councillor Marcelle Booysens said she was assessing the damage caused by the floods in her ward when she heard about Tata and her twins.

“I knew I had to do something about it, because I couldn’t let them stay there,” said Booysens.

“I was about to let them stay with me when another councillor recommended we speak to Settlers Hospital,” Booysens said.

The three were admitted to Settlers on Wednesday night, said provincial health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

“The twins were examined by a doctor and they seemed to be healthy,” Kupelo said.

Tata was too shy to speak to City Press.

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