Flash floods hit areas in South Africa

One person was killed and several rescued by emergency services in the Eastern Cape as heavy rains wreaked havoc.

In North West, 20 houses were destroyed in Berseba village, near Rustenburg. One woman was injured, graves were destroyed, and most of the community’s domestic animals were killed during a freak thunderstorm on Wednesday night.

Residents who yesterday began the task of cleaning up said hail stones the size of tennis balls struck the village for about 15 minutes. Roofs caved in, windows were shattered and trees were shredded. Mpumalanga also battled with heavy rains this week, which led to the death of a seven-year-old boy.

Arrive Alive spokesman in the Eastern Cape, Tshepo Machaea, said floods had caused accidents across the province, with trees and rocks falling on busy roads. Affected roads were closed yesterday to avoid more accidents.

Around East London, homes, roads, schools and businesses were also heavily affected by flooding and falling trees.

St Luke’s Primary School in Nxarhuni had to cancel school for the day after the roofs of three classrooms blew off, damaging resources and furniture.

School principal Norah Babana said: “The damage occurred in the morning. When I got to the school, all the books and furniture were damaged. There was water everywhere, we just had to turn the pupils away until we have a solution.”

Pupils from Loyiso Senior Secondary in Mdantsane were turned away because their classrooms were flooded, while hundreds of residents in Duncan Village and Mdantsane suffered the same fate.

Notyiki Feni, a 74-year-old granny from Phumlani village, was left helpless when her shack collapsed due to the heavy rain.

“We don’t know what to do about Gogo’s situation. Everything has been destroyed, all her belongings floated in the water. She is not the only one in the village as about six more houses were affected by the floods,” said concerned neighbour Bathini Booi.

Businesses around East London did not escape unscathed. A Daily Dispatch delivery truck from Port Elizabeth had to turn back while approaching Alexandria due to a blocked road. Circulation manager Ryan Megaw apologised to readers for the late deliveries.

The Buccaneers Pub and Grill in East London was also affected by heavy rain and strong winds. Owner Harold Goddard said that fixing the damage would cost him R50000.

SA Weather Service forecaster Quinton Jacobs said the heavy rains could continue up to Wednesday next week.

“We will experience rain but not so much the gale force winds as the week progresses. The rain will be on and off throughout next week. Yesterday’s rain will lead to overflowing rivers,” Jacobs said.

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