Due to recent floods in the Newcastle area, municipal manager Errol Mswane said the disaster management team was on the ground to assist the community, reports the Newcastle Advertiser.
“Our traffic and disaster management team were immediately on the ground. [On Tuesday night], Mayor Makhosini Nkosi, myself, together with Ward 3, Councillor Matthew Shunmugam, visited the areas of Paradise and Lennoxton, where some families experienced severe flooding in their homes.”
Mswane said they had contacted the office of the MEC to assist with relief efforts.
In response, the MEC deployed a team, which met together with the district and Newcastle municipalities on Wednesday.
“The team has proceeded to conduct an assessment to the damage done, and solutions will be communicated shortly,” Mswane said.
The areas affected most by the flood in Newcastle are Lennoxton, Paradise and Siyahlala-la Informal Settlement, D96 as well as Madadeni Section 3 and oSizweni, where two houses were completely destroyed.
The displaced communities in Siyahlala-la, Paradise and Lennoxton were evacuated and accommodated at the Fairleigh Community Hall.
Madadeni’s displaced community were evacuated and housed at the Madadeni Community Hall, while residents from Blaauwbosch will be accommodated at oSizweni Community Hall, as well as Mzamo High School.
Fortunately no fatalities and injuries were reported thus far.
“Our disaster management teams are out doing assessment and evacuation at this stage. Relief materials distributed to the affected communities are sandbags, mattresses, blankets, tents and plastic sheets,” he said on Wednesday evening.
Streets and homes flooded in Newcastle, assessment and distribution of relief is ongoing at this stage.
The Newcastle Taxi and Bus Rank were completely closed off, and the top of Kirkland Street was used as a temporary taxi rank. Murchison Street was used as a temporary bus rank.
Most of the town intersections were closed off, and all traffic officials were effectively manning all the intersections.
A high congestion of traffic was noted on all roads. Massive potholes were also reported on the provincial road P483 as well as Albert Wessels Drive.
Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) was requested to assist with traffic control on the P483.
Department of Transport (Roads) has requested to fill in potholes, and it is has confirmed their teams are sent out to fill in the potholes on the P483.
Residents of all ages, who were left destitute after the floods in Newcastle raided their homes, were gathering at Fairleigh Community Hall, the Newcastle Advertiser further reported.
Secretary of Ward 25 councillor Sister Nxumalo said there were 49 victims at the hall by Wednesday, however, Ward 25 community development worker of CoGTA Nolwazi Mkhulise said there were only 30 victims: 20 adults and 10 children.
“We can accommodate over 100 residents who require assistance, and when we are full we will send them to Newcastle Farmers Hall. Pick ‘n Pay and Red Cross brought soup and bread for the victims and promised to provide other meals,” said Nxumalo. She said the Newcastle Crisis Centre also donated clothes for the children.
Mkhulise said the Taiwanese Tzu-Chi Foundation and The Ramkisoon Centre donated blankets on Wednesday and a couple donated soup.
“The community involvement has been great thus far.”
She said they had assessed the damages of the victims houses and the water seemed to be receding.
“I think if some of the victims clean out the leftover water in their homes they should be able go back, if we don’t have anymore rain today. Currently, there is only water in the yards, and there is still no power. The roads to the homes have also drained, so they should be able to go home soon.”
Johan Pieters of Newcastle 911 thanked Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay for their contribution and commitment for the next few days.
“North City Wholesalers donated 200 5kgs of rice, and maize meal, and 200 loaves of bread. We are extremely grateful for their contribution.”
He appealed to the community for more food supplies.
All the victims who are at Fairleigh Community Hall are from Paradise except one, who is from Siyahlala.
– Caxton News Service