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

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  • The Komani River overflowed on Wednesday morning due to heavy rain.
  • Nearly 40mm of rain fell overnight, the South African Weather Service said.
  • More than 400 people have been evacuated.

More than 70 animals had to be evacuated from the SPCA in Komani amid widespread flooding in the Eastern Cape town on Wednesday morning.

Earlier, more than 400 residents were evacuated after the Komani River overflowed following a night of heavy rainfall, which affected low-lying communities.

The town received 37mm of rain overnight, said South African Weather Service forecaster Ayabonga Tshungwana.

Tshungwana said light rain was expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon and that the skies would start to clear on Thursday afternoon.

An orange level-5 warning for disruptive rain was in place, added Tshungwana.

WATCH | Eastern Cape floods: Komani residents evacuated after heavy rains cause river to overflow

On Wednesday morning, more than 400 people were evacuated from low-lying areas, said Chris Hani District Municipality spokesperson Bulelwa Ganyaza.

The extent of the damage was being assessed, but there were no deaths, said Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa.

Pelem Road in Komani flooded and closed off
Pelem Road in Komani has been closed due to flooding.

Treasurer of the Komani SPCA, Marizanne Havenga, said the premises sustained damaged. She said the cattery was flooded, while the kennels had started to flood.

"The river hasn't even reached us yet. This is just from water running down from the mountain," she said.

"We're evacuating animals as a precaution because we think it's going to get worse."

SPCA premises flooded after heavy rains
More than 70 animals are being evacuated from the SPCA in Komani amid widespread flooding.
Supplied Komani SPCA

Havenga said that once the animals had been accommodated at other SPCA branches, work would begin to "save the kennels" by digging trenches to allow the organisation to rescue animals that had been affected by flooding.

Havenga added that the SPCA was expecting an influx of animals from flooded areas where homes had been washed away. She said 17 cats, 10 kittens, 33 dogs and 17 puppies were being relocated.

READ | Nearly half a billion rand needed to rebuild infrastructure after Joburg floods

She called on the public to assist with donations of fuel and to volunteer to drive the animals to other SPCA branches.

"We're in [dire] financial straits. This is the worst thing that could be happening to us at this stage," she added.

The Life Queenstown Private Hospital also experienced flooding.

Mathews Moavodi, Life Healthcare regional manager, said the ground floor of the hospital was flooded.

"All emergency protocols were properly followed as soon as the incident occurred, and all patients and employees are safe. Patients who were due to be discharged today (Wednesday) were discharged," he added.

Moavodi said the hospital was functioning on reduced occupancies.

"Emergency treatment is sustained, and all essential services are functional. Emergency clean-up operations are in progress to restore hospital services as soon as possible," he said.

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