It has been a tough week for residents of Imizamo Yethu, where the homes of nearly 40 families were flooded or badly damaged.
And many of them also lost or had their personal belongings damaged.
Among them was Jessica Mangeliso who told Sentinel News she had been struggling to sleep for the past few days, protecting what’s left of her belongings and also plugging holes to prevent water from entering her two-bedroom home.
“It started with our roof. We always had a small leak, but once the rain started coming, the leak became worse and then it started coming in from the bottom as well,” she explained.
Already, her bedroom cupboards, bed, stove and fridge have all been damaged by rain water.
The mother of three said: “I had to take my children to my mother’s place. I am a single mother as my husband works away from home. I have to do these things myself because I do not have the money to pay somebody to fix such stuff.”
Community leader Kenny Tokwe said the situation was “extremely bad” in IY with many families and homes requiring urgent help.
“The people are really struggling out here in IY and we are trying to get them all the help they need. The rains did not stop and it made it harder for the people,” he said.
Mr Tokwe had been communicating with the City of Cape Town’s Disaster and Risk Management unit to bring in further assistance for the people of IY.
He explained that people were in desperate need of food and items to secure their homes.
“The weather is not making things easy for our people and that is why we are calling on the public to come out and help. The rain just kept coming and it did not give people a chance to fix up their homes,” he said.
In Hangberg, many locals were facing similar challenges.
Spokesperson for the Peace and Mediation Forum, Warren Abrahams, confirmed that mainly the informal units in HIDA and the Dallas TRA, between the rental units and ratepayers had been adversely affected.
“During adverse weather conditions, my heart always goes out to my community who are living in informal structures.
“With each rainy season it’s getting worst and government is not helping much with the new regulations and restrictions to assist the affected families,” Mr Abrahams said.
Mr Abrahams started assisting locals by compiling a list of everyone in need of help and sending it to the City.
He also explained that the some of the flooding had been caused by the blocked stormwater channels and drainage systems.
Mr Abrahams also confirmed that the Hangberg Advice Office had also been flooded and locals were making efforts to salvage what they could
“I hope they can assist my community through our difficult time. Thank You to all the PMF members and community who are assisting. We are all like family here and need to work together in times like this,“ he added
“The saying really comes in today, ’A injury to one is a injury to all’.”
He called on locals to “assess and research” ways to curb this from happening to their structures, among them digging trenches to divert water, repairing leaks in their roofs and raising the entrances to their homes.
However, ward councillor Roberto Quintas waved away concerns around the lack of fire kits having anything to do with the national regulations.
“Fire kits have nothing to do with national regulations, and everything to do with budget cuts from National Government’s Human Settlements Department,” he explained.
He added that the cut from national government had forced the City to reduce the “free handouts” of fire rebuilding kits, in order to have the funding available to complete the new housing projects the City had committed to.
In terms of flooding, Mr Quintas said he had already been contacted by several people living in City rental stock and informal areas – in both IY and Hangberg.
“I have actioned Disaster Risk Management, Informal Settlements Management and Housing Officials as well as Roads and Storm Water teams. They will assess and assist with necessary interventions as and where possible,” Mr Quintas said.
The City faces some larger challenges such as stormwater drains and channels, which are blocked with rubble and plastics and other foreign items, causing localised flooding, as well as people building illegally in areas which are not supposed to be inhabited, he added.
“The City will of course do it’s best to attend to flooding incidents across the City as they occur but I must encourage residents to refrain from or report illegal dumping or tampering with the storm drain systems,” Mr Quintas said.
BLOB Residents are encouraged to report a flooding emergency to 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.