April 9, 2024

Western Cape Battles Severe Weather: An Update on the Province’s Response

The Western Cape Government, led by Premier Alan Winde, is actively responding to the severe weather conditions that have impacted large parts of the province over the last 72 hours. With conditions stabilizing in some areas and escalating in others, the focus is on immediate response and recovery efforts.

Stabilizing Western Regions and Intensified Efforts in the Garden Route

The western parts of the province are seeing conditions stabilize, allowing for a shift towards mop-up operations and humanitarian aid. However, the Garden Route district is currently facing heavy rainfall and rising water levels, particularly around the George area, which has received over 100mm of rain in the past 24 hours. The Premier emphasized the government’s top priority is protecting lives in these high-rainfall areas while aiding regions where the weather has passed.

Dams and Flooding: A Rising Concern

Dams in the Garden Route district are rapidly filling or already overflowing, especially those along the coast. This, combined with a spring tide and storm surges, heightens the risk of flooding, particularly at estuaries in Mossel Bay and Wilderness. Authorities are closely monitoring these conditions to manage the potential for downstream flooding effectively.

Weather Warnings Remain in Place

The South African Weather Services has issued a Level 4 warning for disruptive rain in the eastern parts of the province, with expectations of continued rainfall in the Garden Route District until Wednesday. This serves as a caution for residents and authorities to stay vigilant.

Road Closures and Power Outages: An Ongoing Challenge

Numerous roads in the Overberg, Cape Winelands, and Garden Route Districts have been impacted by the severe weather, with closures and clearing efforts being dynamically managed. Premier Winde has also expressed deep concern over ongoing power outages and has actively engaged with Eskom to ensure a swift restoration of services across the province.

Education Disrupted, Infrastructure Damaged

With 132 schools reporting damage ranging from minor to significant, the impact on education is substantial. The Western Cape Department of Education is assessing the need for further school closures in the coming days. Additionally, municipalities are grappling with the damage to homes and other structures, prompting a coordinated response to address these challenges and support affected residents.

Healthcare Amidst Adversity

Despite intermittent power outages, healthcare facilities across the affected regions remain largely operational. The resilience of these services ensures that essential healthcare needs are met even in the face of severe weather challenges.

A Unified Response

Premier Winde commended the tireless efforts of disaster management officials and emphasized that the province’s preparedness and rapid response have been crucial in managing the evolving situation. As the Western Cape continues to navigate this crisis, the collective effort of government, municipalities, NGOs, and the community remains pivotal in safeguarding lives and property.

For ongoing updates and emergency contact information, residents are urged to utilize the Western Cape Government’s communication resources and stay informed on the latest developments.