Garden Route District Disaster Management says it is busy assessing damage to rural roads and infrastructure in formal and informal settlements in George and surrounding areas of the Western Cape.

Residences, businesses and infrastructure were damaged after heavy rains wreaked havoc in the area. Disaster Management Chief, Gerhard Otto, says one of the major problems at the moment is that some areas in George have neither water nor electricity.

“There are some areas in George without water that had burst pipes; they also had a lot of damages in terms of their electrical network that’s being assessed. By Friday, we’ll exactly know what the full extent of the damages is and then we’ll approach the provincial government and if necessary the national government for disaster declaration if required. At this point in time, in my view, I’ve been in the game for 30 years, it doesn’t look as bad as we thought it would be,” Otto explains.

Police at Mossel Bay in the Western Cape say a man in his seventies has drowned while trying to drive over a low-lying bridge at Geelbeksvleipa near Brandwag.

The incident happened this morning when he tried to cross the flooded bridge in a bakkie. The man, whose identity is unknown, was declared dead on the scene. Heavy rains in the region have caused widespread flooding and damaged infrastructure as well as closure of schools in towns such as George.

The humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers, has brought truckloads of donations from their warehouses to provide assistance to those affected by the floods.

The organisation’s project manager Ali Sablay says they will distribute blankets, mattresses and bulk food items to feeding centres in Thembalethu, Pacaltsdorp and Conville.

“The weather we’re going to have, for two to three days, that’s our whole aim to distribute to people as fast as possible.  Disaster management has predicted more rain in the next few days.  We’re here to provide humanitarian aid in the coming week.  We’ll be having a JOC meeting every day to see which other areas were affected and to see to what extent we can reach out to other areas as well,” Sablay elaborates.