Mon. May 20th, 2019

Port St Johns floods: Residents evacuated amid heavy rainfall

Port St Johns floodsRainfall is expected to continue on Tuesday.

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Port St Johns, on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, has
been battered by heavy rains and localised flooding, leading to large-scale evacuations.

The region of Green Farm, situated along the Mzimvubu River – which burst its banks on Monday – has been particularly hard-hit by flash flooding. According to SABC News, large portions of the low-lying rural settlement have been left inaccessible.

Read: Southern African countries won’t manage disasters unless they work together

Port St Johns floods caused by heavy rains

The torrential rainfall, which started on Easter Weekend, damaged
homes and vital infrastructure. Unfortunately for Wild Coast communities, the
rainfall is expected to continue on Tuesday. The South African Weather Service
(SAWS) has issued warnings for the Eastern Cape and surrounds, predicting
protracted downpours in KwaZulu-Natal and the Garden Route.

In the meantime, hundreds of Green Farm residents have been
evacuated to safety. Ayanda Gantsho, speaker of the Port St Johns Municipality,
explained that the embattled residents had been moved to a town hall on higher
ground. Gantsho also called on fellow South Africans to assist with the relief
efforts, saying:

“One thing we need the most is mattresses, food, blankets, heaters because it is very cold. And we have asked business people to assist us . We really need to be assisted with such things.”

According to the OR Tambo Disaster Management team, which is
spearheading the evacuation procedures, many residents in the area are still
trapped by the flash floods. Government officials note that the number of people
in need of assistance and refuge is expected to rise dramatically over the next
24 hours.

Veteran politician and leader of the United Democratic
Movement (UDM), Bantu Holimisa, has called on the South African National
Defence Force (SANDF) to step in an assist with both evacuation and clean-up
procedures.

How you can assist

Public donations are being funnelled to the Port St Johns (PSJ)
Disaster Satellite Centre. The centre, which is run by Thandazwa Thwatshuka, is
in dire need of:

  • Mattresses
  • Foodstuffs
  • Blankets and bedding
  • Heaters

Thwatshuka can be contacted on 0735988082. Supplies and donations can also be dropped off at Ground X, Greenfields and Toast Deli in Vincent.

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