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Father, daughter rescued in Cape storm floods, nature reserves closed

Cape Town – A father and daughter were rescued this morning as large parts of the Overberg region remain flooded, with rain persisting in the area.

Swellendam, Bredasdorp, Struisbaai, Riversonderend and the surrounding areas continue to be the most affected, Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said in an update at noon today.

The search is continuing for two missing persons, with rescuers continuing to pull people from the water. No further fatalities have been confirmed beyond the two from Wednesday evening in Bonnievale, after their car overturned.

A total of 45 farmworkers, their family members and a dog were rescued yesterday after being stranded by flood waters in Riviersonderend. In a six-hour operation, rescue workers used boats and jet skis to ferry them to safety, with a pregnant woman and a man the first to be ferried across to safety.

“Rescuers continue to pull people from the water – a father and daughter were rescued and taken to safety this morning. The NSRI are playing an invaluable role in rescue efforts and we want to thank all the partners involved once again,” said Bredell.

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The severity of the storm is easing up, but the amount of rain and the impact on infrastructure continues to pose problems and the Overberg remains dangerous.

Rivers in the region continue to rise, overflowing riverbanks in some areas and the water is coming down towards the ocean at speed.

“We urge people in the area to remain indoors where possible, to avoid travelling around in the regions affected as roads are damaged and some bridges in rural areas have been washed away. Please contact the emergency services in the event of any emergency,’’ Bredell said.

Further afield in the Garden Route District, the Karoo town of Ladismith and its surrounding areas has seen heavy rain.

“The amount of rain that has fallen in this area over the past two days is more than the area has seen in the past six years. There are no reports of any casualties or missing people and there has been no need for any evacuations in the Garden Route district.”

Gouritz Riviermond, Stilbaai and Bitou saw some flooding as well as parts of Hessequa. The municipalities have managed the situation and it remains under control.

A number of CapeNature reserves have also been hit by the heavy rain and strong winds sweeping across the Western Cape. Please note the following:

  • Marloth Nature Reserve is closed until 9 May.
  • Hottentots Holland Nature reserve is closed until 7 May.
  • Kogelberg Nature Reserve – all hiking trails closed until 10 May.
  • De Hoop Nature Reserve is closed until 10 May.
  • Robberg Nature Reserve – the Fountain Shack overnight accommodation is closed until 7 May.
  • Keurbooms River Nature Reserve – Whiskey Creek Cabin overnight accommodation is closed until 7 May.
  • Swartberg Nature Reserve is closed until 11 May.
  • Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve – all hiking trails are closed until 7 May.

The dates for reopening may be amended depending on weather conditions, CapeNature said.

IOL

45 people have been rescued after being stranded by flood waters in Riviersonderend.Rescue workers used boats and jet skis to ferry the families to safety.The rescue operation took around six hours.Forty-five farmworkers and a dog were rescued from rising waters as Riviersonderend flooded during a severe storm on Thursday.The heavy rain and strong winds resulted in flooding in many areas and, by Thursday, two people had died, two had been reported missing and hundreds had been evacuated.READ |Western Cape storm: Nature reserves closed due to heavy rain, strong windsAt around 12:40, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) responded to a call at the Sonderend River in Riviersonderend in the Overberg region of the Western Cape.”Overberg Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and police were investigating a situation where rising flood waters had trapped farmworkers on one side of the river since Wednesday. NSRI Kleinmond dispatched our NSRI rescue vehicle, with an NSRI Croc, and towing a sea rescue craft,” said Schalk Boonzaaier, NSRI Kleinmondstation commander.See how the @NSRI assisted in the rescue of farm workers last night in the storm-hit Overberg region. #ThankYouNSRIVideo supplied by the NSRI. pic.twitter.com/jXQhkSgQCC Smile90.4 FM (@Smile904FM) May 7, 2021Hermanus NSRI duty crew were also activated.Rescue personnel found 22 men, 19 women and four children, along with a dog, desperately needing to be ferried across two stretches of the flooded river.The rescue mission saw police divers on two jet skis establish a safe route over flooded farm roadways, and asectionof the flooded Sonderend River, to reach the stranded families. The families were moved in relays, using the jets skis and boats.SAPS members in the Southern Cape and Overberg are deployed in numbers to assist with disaster management and the rescue operation in areas affected by flooding and severe weather conditionsSAPS Forty-five farmworkers and a dog were rescued from rising waters as Riviersonderend flooded during a severe storm on Thursday. NSRI Forty-five farmworkers and a dog were rescued from rising waters as Riviersonderend flooded during a severe storm on Thursday. NSRI The operation took about six hours to complete.A pregnant woman and a man with a medical condition were first to be ferried across to safety.The children were next, accompanied by their parents.”The dog was carried most of the way by police divers and then by NSRI rescue swimmers,” Boonzaaier added.Some wildlife animals, including a snake, were assisted to higher ground duringthe operation.”NSRI commend the farmers for their high spirits and their cooperation during the operation and all rescue services involved are commended for their close cooperation insuccessfully carrying out the safe extraction of the farmers,” said Boonzaaier.

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