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05 July 2011

Eastern Cape mopping up

Port Elizabeth - Heavy rains and flooding affected several areas in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday, the municipality said.

The Joint Operation Centre received 274 calls because of rising water levels, spokesperson Kupido Baron said in a statement.

Sixty residents from the Ericadene informal settlement were left homeless and 20 residents in Fitchett's Corner.

Some areas were affected by electricity outages.

These included: Kensington, Lorraine, Greenshields, KwaZakhele, Missionvale, Zwide, Soweto-on-Sea, New Brighton, Walmer, Chatty and Rosedale.

A number of roads were closed due to the flooding, he said.

The N2 between St Albans and Greenbush was closed. Seaview Road towards Bushy Park was also closed because two farm dams were overflowing.

Other roads closed were the 3rd Avenue dip in Newtown, Valley Road, Cromwell and Kragga Kamma Road, and Marine Drive had collapsed in the vicinity of Pine Lodge, Baron said.

More rain expected

The combined capacity of Kouga, Churchill, Impofu, Loerie and Groendal dam was 84.3%.

Light rain was expected on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Mopping up operations began in East London on Tuesday where heavy rains and flooding wreaked havoc, leaving residents trapped in cars and homes, Eastern Cape disaster management said.

"We are still running around, but everybody is safe," spokesperson John Fobian said.

"Fire departments just need to get to houses affected by flooding, in order to pump water out, and put in sand bags."

He said residents of affected houses were taken to safety and moved to higher ground.

Emergency personnel earlier rescued workers who were trapped in their cars along Windermere road.

"They were trapped as the water surrounded their vehicles... No injuries or deaths have been reported."

4 000 displaced

Spokesperson for Buffalo City metro in East London, Keith Ngesi, said about 4 000 informal settlement dwellers were displaced.

"The municipality and the city metro are looking at addressing the situation to identify those in need of temporary accommodation." Some would be sheltered at two community halls.

"We will be delivering blankets and have organised transport to get them there."

Ngesi said a number of buildings in the city centre were damaged by weather conditions.

Electricity was also affected in parts of East London, including Beacon Bay, Gonoubie and Nahoon.

"The monetary value on damages has not been finalised, as information is still trickling in."

Fobian said concluding mopping up operations depended on the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday's forecasts.

The SA Weather Service earlier said that widespread showers were expected in the Eastern Cape for the rest of Tuesday.

"The bulk of rain will be experienced today, with a few showers tomorrow [Wednesday]," forecaster Ezekile Sebego said.

There was also a possibility of snow on the northern high ground up to Lesotho.

Five people died following heavy rain and flooding in the Eastern Cape last month.

- SAPA/News24