The recent flooding that hit parts of the Eastern Cape wreaked havoc with road infrastructure. A number of roads and bridges in the Alfred Nzo district of the province have collapsed and even newly built bridges were washed away. More than 400 families are homeless and in some areas people cannot access nearby towns. Teaching and learning is also affected.
Access to food is difficult and dangerous
Nearly two weeks have gone by since the torrential rains hit. In the coastal areas of the Alfred Nzo region at least 410 homes collapsed completely. Access to food is difficult and dangerous. People have to walk to their nearest town, having to cross still swollen rivers. An affected resident, Madiya Gqumani, burst into tears as she explains her plight.
“My children have no shelter, houses have collapsed. some of the kids here are just orphans, I am not employed, I have no one to look after the needs of the children. Even my parents died. Floods have forced me to take the kids under my watch. I am pleading with whoever that can help to build a shelter and provide food for the kids.”
A call for support
The support for flood victims have not yet reached these people. Neighbours are taking care of each other. They want the government to step up its intervention.
Mfaniseni Tshutsha and Thandile Mgenyana are desperately in need of assistance.
“Villagers can no longer go to town to buy food. Bridges are damaged and people have drowned been severely affected some have died due to floods. We want government to respond and help us, we are in need of help.”
“Road infrastructures is collapsed, learners are no longer going to school because -there are no roads, bridges have collapsed. Households have collapsed and we are just desperate for any help here at Mgwede, Bizana.”
Video: Residents of Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape displaced by floods [ 13 April 2022]
Families in the Eastern Cape affected by KZN floods
A number of people who died in KwaZulu-Natal came from this area. Their families hope the local authorities will assist to bring their bodies back home. Alfred Nzo District Municipality Mayor, Vukile Mhlelembana says they have been approached by the affected families.
Among 450 people who are reported dead in KZN, an affordable now is from here in the Alfred Ndzo region, we have been approached over 18 families to return the bodies of the deceased loved ones for them to be buried here in the district. As Alfred Ndzo over 410 households were damaged and destroyed, 185 were partially damaged which goes to a cost of over 350 milllion as per estimates.”
A preliminary report on the damage in the Alfred Nzo region estimates it will cost R800-million to rebuild the houses and the damaged infrastructure.
Mhlelembana says a loss of this magnitude needs a collective effort to provide the necessary help to communities.
“There is a lot of damage within the region as a whole which covers Matateile, Mzimvubu, Winnie Madikizela Mandela and Ntabankulu. The worst part of it, yesterday it started raining as you can see it’s still raining even now, it’s obvious by Monday we will get another report which will add to this. We are hoping they will assist the municipalities.”
The damage assessment continues and a final report is still to be put together.