Three people missing as heavy rain and flooding batter Eastern Cape towns

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There was heavy rain that led to flooding in Lusikisiki and Port St Johns.
There was heavy rain that led to flooding in Lusikisiki and Port St Johns.
PHOTO: Supplied/SAWS
  • Three people are missing after heavy rain and flooding in the Eastern Cape.
  • The floods washed away roads and damaged buildings.
  • Water treatment plants in Mzimvubu and Port St Johns have also been affected.

Three people went missing in Rhole Village, Lusikisiki, amid heavy flooding in that area and Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape on Thursday.

According to municipality spokesperson Zimkhitha Macingwane, rescue teams are looking for the three missing people.

The municipality dispatched its Disaster and Risk Management Unit throughout the OR Tambo District Municipality on Thursday.

"The heavy downpours have left many areas of the district devastated as infrastructure, houses, recreational facilities, and businesses have been flooded," Macingwane added.

READ | Freddy or not: Downgraded storm still likely to bring rainfall to flood-hit Limpopo, Mpumalanga

In Port St Johns, a resulting power outage affected network connection and the functionality of the Mzimvubu and Port St Johns Water Treatment Works.

"This has led to the water and sanitation treatment plants in the area to be down. The OR Tambo infrastructure, water and sanitation directorate is still investigating the extent of the damage," Macingwane added.

A section of the R61 road near Isinuka was washed away.

Port St Johns Local Municipality Mayor Nomvuzo Mlombile-Cingo said a number of homes had been flooded, trees had fallen over, buildings had collapsed, and sand had washed across roads.

She added:

In all of this, we're doing our best to ensure that everyone's safe.

"Those evacuated from their homes have been housed at the Port St Johns Youth Centre. We're trying to gather mattresses for the people to sleep on.

"However, food is still a problem. Even though we've been able to gather and place these people, we don't have any food to offer them," she said.

The flooding occurred after the South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued an Orange Level 6 warning for disruptive rain in the Nyandeni, Port St Johns and Ingquza Hill Local Municipalities.

"A weakening cut-off low over the central parts of the province is expected to result in scattered showers and thundershowers," the SAWS warned.

Flooding that resulted from heavy rains
There was heavy rain that led to flooding in Lusikisiki and Port St Johns.
Flooded roads and properties after heavy rains
There was heavy rain that led to flooding in Lusikisiki and Port St Johns.
Cars immersed in water up to tyres in industrial area
There was heavy rain that led to flooding in Lusikisiki and Port St Johns.

"Persistent rains are expected to result in continued flooding of roads and settlements.

"Some communities could be temporarily inaccessible. Mudslides and rock falls are possible."

SAWS's Garth Sampson said a significant amount of rain had fallen.

However, exact measurements were not available at the time of publication.

Sampson added that light rain was expected for the area on Friday, although the worst of the rain had passed.

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