COGTA says situation in Port St Johns remains dire due to inclement weather

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The Eastern Cape department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) says that the situation in Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape remains dire, following inclement weather conditions that have led to flooding.

The town was hit again by a major flood in less than a year. Roads and bridges collapsed while houses, shops and streets were flooded on Thursday when torrential rains fell over the area.

The department also says about 3 000 people have been evacuated this week as heavy rains continue to wreak havoc.

Spokesperson for the MEC of COGTA in the Eastern Cape, Pheello Oliphant says, “The situation at present is still dire. Temporary shelters have been constructed – and evacuated people have been taken to the community hall- and some have been taken to flats in town – where they will get care for now. A multi-disciplinary team comprising of SAPS, the Department of Social Development, and the National Disaster Management Centre- in conjunction with the provincial disaster management centre, are on the ground doing an assessment of the damage.”

Disaster management teams have been on the ground, assisting residents since late Thursday.

VIDEO: Torrential rain lashes Port St Johns


Torrential rain has collapsed parts of the R61 leading to the small town of Port St Johns. Mud sliding, falling rocks and trees make it difficult for motorists to drive through. Shops and streets are flooded.

The area is prone to flooding due to its proximity to the Indian Ocean. The floods have caused huge damage.

“It’s having a lot of things because it was raining and at the same time there was that bad weather of thunder and lightning, so it’s affected a lot of households, the roads, there are landslide, rocks and sand are falling so the roads are blocked, the roads are being wiped away literally, so it’s something that is chaotic,” says CINGO’s Nomvuzo Mlombile.

Villagers rolled up their sleeves to control the free flow of traffic as the R61 lane collapsed in patches.

“The situation is bad in this area as our holiday resort, it’s difficult even to go to the second beach, the road is collapsed, it’s a bad situation, motorists can be endangered, we are trying to get other people to provide road signs,” says villager Fuzile Fotini.

Bridges, houses and shops were also severely affected.

“We are currently assessing the situation because as Gandaganda we identify problems of society and provide solutions to them. So we are looking at what we can do in terms of arranging resources for the people here. Otherwise, there is a big loss in business and residents have lost a lot of properties,” says Nzamela Ncoyini from the Gandaganda Residents Forum.

“Everything is upside down. Our business has been flooded with water, and we do not know what to do right now. Drinks and other items are damaged because of the floods so we are hoping things will be right after the floods,” laments businessman Meretu Demeke.

Provincial government departments including Transport, Human Settlement and Social Development have dispatched officials to assess the extent of the damage. Some residents have been temporarily accommodated at the Youth Centre Hall.

Weather forecasters predict that the rain will be better on Saturday than the two previous days.