'We left SA to get away from it': Power cuts haunt S. Africans in snow-hit Texas

The winter storm and lengthy cold snap have crippled power facilities in Texas and have caused outages, leaving about 2.3 million residents in the cold and dark for several days.

People shop in Fiesta supermarket on 17 February 2021 in Houston, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather, power outages and traffic accidents to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. Picture; Go Nakamura/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans living in Texas have told Eyewitness News that they were battling with frozen pipes, intermittent internet, dangerous roads and rolling blackouts.

The winter storm and lengthy cold snap have crippled power facilities in Texas and have caused outages, leaving about 2.3 million residents in the cold and dark for several days.

The lack of power to about a quarter of the state has created a widespread emergency, with families huddling in homes or cars without heat, burst water pipes, failing water systems and petrol shortages.

A South African woman said that she had decided to relocate to the US to carve out a better future after becoming disillusioned with state capture, corruption and load shedding in South Africa.

"Pipes are frozen, water is pouring through the ceiling, icicles on cars, internet connectivity is sketchy, schools in the area have been closed due to the power and lack on internet and the roads - the unsafety of it... traffic lights being out..."

One teenager moved to Texas last year.

She said that she could not believe that she was living through rolling blackouts in the US now.

"It's funny to think that we left South Africa to get away from it. When I was in South Africa, mom and I would play Scrabble by candlelight because we were in load shedding and we never thought we would see it again and now we have to deal with blackouts and dangerous weather...Texas isn't built for snow and it's snowing."

More than 20 people have died in storm-related incidents in southern America over the past week alone.

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