Five deaths and a number of people in hospital after floods in East London,South Africa


Adverse weather conditions have prompted relief interventions by Gift of the Givers (GOTG) in East London, after several people were displaced and five people died.

GOTG head Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said the Buffalo City Municipality assisted with the arrangement of five shelters and accommodation for those affected while GOTG distributed meals and sleeping bags as an immediate intervention.

GOTG said it would be providing more assistance, yesterday.

“In recent weeks the Eastern Cape has been battered by tornadoes, flooding and storms causing extensive damage in Mthatha, Raymond Mhlaba Municipality affecting Alice, Fort Beaufort, Middledrift and Adelaide and now Buffalo City Municipality. Hundreds of homes, 49 clinics and three hospitals have been damaged.

“GOTG has provided substantial support but without public generosity many of the homes will be inhabitable and the health facilities will remain in a state of disrepair,” Sooliman said.

GOTG geologist Oom Gideon said the flooding in the Eastern Cape is as a result of a cycle of slight changes in the temperature of the sea water in the Pacific ocean.

“It's quite far away from us but because of this change, known as the La Niña phase, there is now very clear evidence that it causes the summer rainfall regions of South Africa to then have an increase in rainfall.”

Gideon said he expects cyclones to hit mid-January to the end of April.

“People will have to be very careful with these very heavy rainstorms that can affect us all the way up to the middle of May. If it's going to stay cold like this, there is a big chance that the highlying parts of the Transkei or Eastern Cape will experience some heavy snowfall.”

Severe hail, strong winds and high rainfall are associated with a La Niña episode, with calls to stay clear of low lying areas and low water bridges.

Buffalo City mayor Xola Pakati said the flooding that started around January 6-7, affecting mostly Mdantsane and Duncan Village, has subsided.

“We have registered five fatalities. Five people have died, including a police captain who was in the diving unit. There are people who have been hospitalised as a result of shock. Those are +-15 people who have been treated and discharged,” Pakati said.


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