George received welcome rain over the weekend, with the Garden Route Dam area recording 80mm but at the same time, a number of residents were faced with evacuating their homes due to flooding and related issues. Officials were kept busy from the early hours of Sunday morning with the George Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management section providing 73 mattresses, blankets and a pack of 100 facemasks to families temporarily given shelter in the Pacaltsdorp and New Dawn Park Community Halls as well as residents from Wilderness Heights at Hope Church. Certain of these families are from the Moeggeploeg Informal Settlement.
An informal dwelling in Thembalethu is surrounded by water on Sunday.
The Kat River as seen from Davidson Road on Sunday.
Road near Witfontein impassible following heavy rainfall.
Our Social Development section provided these residents with each with a hot meal on Sunday and today, Monday and we note with gratitude donations of food and blankets from Love George and other members of the public. Not all of the residents chose to stay at the community halls with some preferring to sleepover at family members’ homes or other places. There are currently 85 people (50 adults and 33 children) housed in the Pacaltsdorp Community Hall and 22 housed in the New Dawn Park Community Hall (12 adults and 10 children).
The municipal Disaster Call Centre was inundated with hundreds of calls from residents that were received via the control room and responded to between Friday 4 to Sunday 6 September 2020.
12 Calls were received for the supply of gunplast, 73 were stormwater-related complaints, two calls were received of roofs that were blown off, five calls regarding motor vehicle accidents were received, seven calls about informal house fires, two calls about formal house fires, one building fire, 216 calls were received about civil engineering and technical complaints and 70 calls were received about electrical faults.
Our Human Settlements division handled approximately 200 complaints yesterday with residents mostly requesting assistance with gunplast. On Sunday, the directorate delivered 111 pieces of gunplast to affected people based on the complaints received. The remainder of the complaints will be finalised today (Monday, 7 September). The Electrotechnical teams addressed power outages in Wilderness Village, Wilderness East as well as Parkdene and surrounding areas.
The Civil Engineering teams had to do repair work on three roads that were damaged and several pipelines where joints came loose, as a direct result of blockages caused by unwanted objects thrown into the stormwater system which then caused flooding and damage to pipelines. Cleaning operations and repairs are currently underway in all of these cases. An inlet at Gwaing Sewage Works was blocked due to particles passing through the filters of the pump station. The sea at Ballots Bay was polluted again by the accumulated mess in the Meulen River which was pushed downstream following the heavy rainfall. There were no failures at any of the pump stations along the river that caused a flood or the pollution. The Welgelegen pump station was flooded due to a high inflow with stormwater entering the system and which may have caused damage. The cleaning operation is currently underway.
Municipal Manager, Trevor Botha, thanked all officials for their hard work in the extreme weather conditions and noted that coupled with load-shedding throughout the weekend, as well as having to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols, it made the work so much more difficult and challenging. Botha thanked the public for their patience and understanding.