South Africans breathed a sigh of relief as the long-awaited rainfall broke one of the worst droughts the Western Cape has experienced. Citizens got out of their cars in peak hour traffic to stand in the rain but the joy was soon replaced with fear and dread as flash floods swept the province.
Two incidents occurred in which the first one claimed the lives of five people near Viliersdorp on Wednesday morning. The four women and a man fell victim to the treacherous waters when they jumped out of their car to escape the mass of water rapidly approaching on the High Noon pass and were tragically washed away, unable to escape fast enough.
The second incident claimed the lives of four men, trapped in their car, unable to escape the water rapidly flooding their car in the Montagu area. 20 mm of rain was showered into the land within the space of 10 minutes, flooding roads, bridges and farms. Cape Town's Disaster Management teams are on high alert following these incidents, keeping a close eye on areas that are usually victims of floods.
While the rains are welcomed by most, informal settlements are not looking forward to battling the consequences and have started to prepare by clearing areas in order to minimise system blockages, costing the city's Solid Waste Management Department about R35 million. Patricia de Lille joined the residents in preparations for the informal settlement of Philippi while more bad weather is expected in Cape Town.
Cape Town isn't out of the woods in terms of day zero but the city now has to turn to focus on the next disaster.