Eastern Cape floods: 75 people rescued overnight as flooding spreads to two more municipalities

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  • Seventy-five people were rescued from flooded areas in the Eastern Cape overnight.
  • They join more than 1 000 displaced people who were evacuated after the Komani River overflowed on Wednesday.
  • Three municipalities have reported damage to infrastructure.

Seventy-five people were rescued in flood-stricken Eastern Cape towns on Wednesday night, joining the more than 1 000 people who were displaced when the Komani River overflowed during the day.

The river overflowed on Wednesday morning during heavy rains, leaving low-lying areas of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality flooded.

The flooding has since spread to two more municipalities: the Emalahleni and Dr AB Xuma Local Municipalities.

The severe weather caused extensive damage across the district, according to Chris Hani District Municipality spokesperson, Bulelwa Ganyaza.

"Bad weather conditions continue to wreak havoc across the district as two more municipalities are affected. Some of the rivers are currently overflowing, affecting bridges in different parts of the district... Road infrastructure in these areas has been severely damaged," she said.

READ | SPCA, hospital in Komani flooded after river bursts its banks amid heavy rain

In the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, which bore the brunt of the severe weather on Wednesday, roads infrastructure in Zingquthu and Ezibeleni were damaged, and there was flooding on the Bullhoek, Thornhill and Koppies bridges.

Queenstown Life Private Hospital, and Queens Casino and Hotel were flooded, and the SPCA evacuated animals from its premises.

In the Emalahleni Local Municipality, flooding of the Mcwangele Bridge cut off access to schools and clinics. The Tabasa village bridge in Zwartwater was also affected.

In the Dr AB Xuma Local Municipality, several villages were cut off due to flooded bridges.

ALSO READ | Floods wipe out backup generators at two Komani hospitals

The severe weather resulted in damage to roads in almost all 20 wards.

Ganyaza added: "Our disaster management teams are monitoring the situation throughout the district."

Forecasters have cautioned that the downpours are likely to continue over Thursday and Friday, with an orange level-5 weather warning remaining in place.

South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecaster Pumla Msutu said the weather would start to clear up on Saturday. She added that light showers could still occur on Saturday.

Msutu was not able to give the amount of rainfall that had fallen on Wednesday night, due to technical issues with the SAWS system.

News24 previously reported that 37mm of rain had fallen on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

The Gift of the Givers Foundation is providing humanitarian aid to those who have been displaced.

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