Officials assessing damage from Eastern Cape floods amid emergency operations

The Eastern Cape's Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department is assisting with temporary housing and funeral arrangements.

The Eastern Cape government, together with Gift of the Givers, are assisting with temporary housing and funeral arrangements for victims of the Eastern Cape floods. Picture: Gift of the Givers.

CAPE TOWN - The Eastern Cape's Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department is meeting with stakeholders to assess the damage in flood-affected areas in the province.

Flash flooding on Saturday lasted around four hours and left hundreds displaced, the majority of them from poorer households.

Officials are struggling to relocate them as some residents returned in a desperate attempt to salvage food and personal items.

Department spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga said, together with the Gift of the Givers, they had been assisting with temporary housing and funeral arrangements for the 10 people who lost their lives.

"The metro here in Buffalo City is also availing its centres where the displaced are being housed temporarily while solutions for relocation are being made as well as, of course, the burial of those who are deceased, particularly from indigent families," Mbananga said.

REINFORCEMENTS

The Gift of the Givers earlier estimated some 300 people had been displaced by the flooding.

Torrential rains lashed parts of the province this weekend leaving a trail of destruction in Mdansane and Duncan Village.

Gift of the Givers has had to send additional trucks, filled with relief items, from their Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal offices

Spokesperson Ali Sablay said basic food items were in high demand, explaining "we are busy with huge food operations at the moment."

His colleague, Corene Conradie, was at the scene near East London. Those affected were poor households living in shack dwellings.

Conradie said they had completely lost what little they had.

"People need mattresses, blankets, hygiene packs. School is opening in a week's time. These parents are already bought school uniforms, clothing, books, stationery - it's all washed away."

Businesses or anyone able to assist with donations have been urged to contact the organisation:
Toll-free number: 0800 786 911
Email: info@giftofthegivers.org

OFFICER REMEMBERED AS HERO

The Eastern Cape police's Captain Pierre Marx was among those who died in the floods.

The 53-year-old was overpowered by the tides while taking part in the rescue operation. His colleagues have described him as a hero.

"Sad day indeed for us in the SAPS as we have lost a diver, a hero who has dedicated most of his life to saving the lives of other people. Even during the incident he was doing what he loves most saving lives of other people" said the police's Nomthetheleli Mene.