Western Cape storm: Air support grounded as weather wreaks havoc

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A woman and a child run across the road, in makeshift raincoats in an informal settlement, in Langa, Cape Town.
A woman and a child run across the road, in makeshift raincoats in an informal settlement, in Langa, Cape Town.
Rodger Bosch
  • Aerial support to assist, after heavy storms lashed the Western Cape, has been grounded.
  • Two people died after their vehicle was caught in the flood during a winter storm.
  • The storm brought heavy rainfall to areas across the Overberg and Cape Winelands.

Aerial support, as part of relief efforts for a storm lashing the Western Cape, has been grounded due to the bad weather. 

The storm hit the province on Wednesday morning.

It claimed the lives of two people in Bonnievale and caused significant damage and flooding in the Overberg, Southern Cape and Cape Winelands.

Colin Diener, the province's chief of disaster management, confirmed that an SANDF Oryx helicopter had been returned to base because of the inclement conditions.

In Robertson and Hermanus, 41mm of rain was measured, while Struisbaai received 115mm of rainfall. Swellendam recorded 45mm and Grabouw 58mm.

In Cape Town, there was between 6mm and 14mm. The Tsitsikamma region received 48mm.

The storm caused significant flooding in areas of the Overberg and Cape Winelands.

"[The helicopter is] not able to get through to the Overberg and remains on standby, in case the weather [permits flight]," he said.

PICS | Cape storms: Evacuations underway in Southern Cape

Overberg emergency services personnel had their hands full trying to assist locals in the Cape Agulhas municipal area, which experienced severe flooding and power outages due to the storm. 

"People have been evacuated from their homes and are housed at the Struisbaai Caravan Park, Struisbaai Community Hall and other places of accommodation. We are monitoring and assessing other areas and will keep you informed should the situation change," the municipality said in a statement. 

Gift of the Givers assisted residents in Struisbaai, offering aid to around 60 families. The team arrived in Struisbaai on Thursday morning, to provide bedding, toiletries and food.

Gift of the Givers operations manager, Ali Sablay, estimated that around 300 people had been displaced due to the heavy rainfall.

No one expected it to hit Struisbaai so soon and so bad. We received a call on Wednesday afternoon requesting our urgent assistance. Many of the homes were flooded in seconds and they needed to evacuate the elderly and the vulnerable.

Sablay added that relief was also need in surrounding municipalities, such as Bonnievale.

Diener, told News24 that two people had been trapped in the flood in Bonnievale after a truck was stuck between a river and a vineyard.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell confirmed that two people had died in the incident on the R317.

In another incident, a motorist was rescued after his bakkie was stuck in the flood. The vehicle was towed out, and the driver managed to escape without injuries.

Diener said there had been several reports of people trapped as a result of the flooding.

One person was reported missing at Stormsvlei, and there were people trapped in houses and a vehicle in the area, Diener added.

Bredell added that the conditions were very difficult, and that they are grateful for the men and women who stood up once more to help communities.

"We hope that we don't see any further major incidents and urge the public to take care over the next few days," he said.

The widespread rainfall and gale force winds were expected to continue across large parts of the Western Cape throughout the day.

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