81 homes damaged as storm lashes Oudtshoorn, displacing at least 100 people

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PHOTO: Duncan Alfreds, News24
  • At least 100 people took shelter at a sports field after heavy flooding in Oudtshoorn. 
  • Eighty-one houses and several roads in the town were damaged.
  • About 24 trees were ripped out of the ground as streets flooded during the storms.

At least 100 people were displaced during extreme hail storms and floods in Oudtshoorn, in the Western Cape, with around 81 houses damaged.

The municipality said many roads around Greater Oudtshoorn were damaged, and 24 trees were ripped out of the ground. Rainfall was measured at 70mm, and the town's Raubenheimer Dam, which was at a low of 30% a few months ago, is overflowing.

However, the cost of the much-needed water in the ostrich country of the Klein Karoo was that residents were displaced by the floods, and had to take shelter at the De Jager Sport complex.

The municipality's Disaster Management teams are assessing the damage and are scrambling to attend to at least 188 complaints of power outages and 27 complaints relating to streets and stormwater drains. 

"Roads in many parts of the Greater Oudtshoorn have been severely damaged," the municipality said on Tuesday afternoon.

READ | Oudtshoorn on high alert as heavy rain causes river swells

The Swartberg Pass is still closed, but Meiringspoort, which was also closed, has been reopened and is regulated on a stop-and-go basis. No injuries or deaths have been reported as yet, but one person was rescued after being swept away while crossing a flooded low-water bridge. 

The municipality warned people not to cross rivers or any of the low water bridges in town because there might be debris in the water. 

Cango Wildlife Ranch tourism manager Tammy Moult said the facility was mopping up after heavy rains a week ago and was at the ready to move animals - if necessary. "Fortunately, we do a lot of husbandry training here, so most of the animals will enter a crate voluntarily and that makes our work slightly easier," she added.

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