Storm wreaks widespread havoc

Luzuko Sontani was in his home when the walls collapsed around him during this weeks storm.

As was to be expected, residents in Imizamo Yethu were worst affected by this week’s storm which began on Tuesday night, although damage was not not as bad as initially feared.

Shack roofs were blown off during the night, while a number of trees blew into power lines. Building material also cracked the windscreen of at least one vehicle.

For displaced residents of the Hout Bay fire currently being accommodated in the temporary relocation area (TRA) shacks at the Hout Bay Sports Complex and near Disa Primary (TRA Site 2), the storm could not have come at a worse time. While most shacks in these areas did not sustain structural damage, several collapsed completely due to the high winds.

Site 2 resident Nkososi Phendule said his shack had collapsed due to the building material provided by the City not being strong enough.

“When they (City workers), put the shack up, they also did not make it tight enough. That’s why it collapsed. This is very upsetting,” he said.

At the sports fields, resident Nomvuyiso Nduvu said she had returned from work shortly to discover her shack had collapsed.

“The one next door to me had also collapsed. I’m not sure what is going to happen now.”

The back “catching” fence behind the goal on the AstroTurf was badly buckled by the weather, while sheet metal and wood used to build the TRA shacks were strewn about the field, some even blowing into Victoria Road.

Up at Dontse Yakhe, resident Luzuko Sontani had been asleep at about 1.30am on Wednesday when his shack started to collapse around him.

“I lost everything in the fire, but I rebuilt my shack. But now I’m here with a hammer again, and I’ve got to do it all again.”

Only two shacks were battered by the storm in Hangberg.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said on Wednesday he was aware of the damage that had been sustained overnight.

“Despite the strong winds, we are managing the situation. On the sports field we are aware of 18 structures that have been affected. We did learn that one lady was injured after being struck by a piece of building material,” he said.

He said a lot of the building material at the sports complex had shifted on account of the wind, and the City had authorised the roads department to truck in sand to be placed in bags to support the sheet metal and wood. Contractors on site would be assisting in this regard.

While there had been suggestions that more than 2 000 people had been displaced by the storm, he said most of the people displaced were those who were already in the temporary relocation areas.
“These people were relocated into the sports hall overnight and the next day,” he said.

“Our City partners, the Red Cross (Society) and Mustadafin Foundation and local partner Thula Thula are ready to help in terms of blankets and food and other items,” he said.

“So far, I think compared to other parts of Cape Town we have managed to come out relatively unscathed. I think this was in part due to the City’s readiness for the storm. There was already a fair amount in place to negate anything that happened. Wind and flood damage generally does not result in the same type of loss as one would get with a fire.”

He added that in the past fortnight, the City had been removing sand from the storm drains along Harbour Road, which had prevented water pooling and flooding.