Eastern Cape floods death toll rises to 14, others still missing

Nightmare continues for distressed communities in Coffee Bay and other parts of the Eastern Cape who woke up on Wednesday morning to the news that the floods death toll has risen to 14.

This after torrential rains battered parts of the province at the weekend. Many other families across the province, whose homes were flattened by the heavy rains accompanied by strong winds, are still searching for missing loved ones.

Schools, road infrastructure and businesses were not spared when last week’s floods left a trail of destruction, and police divers and sniffer dogs continue with search and rescue operations.

Zimkitha Macingwane, spokesperson for OR Tambo district municipality, said at the start of the week that two bodies of siblings from Qhogi village, who were swept away by the floods while sleeping with their mother on Friday night, have been recovered.

“The search led to the recovery of four people who were among the six people who were swept away by floods in separate incidents, putting the number of missing people to two,” said Macingwane.

“The [provincial] department of social development is providing psychosocial support to the survivors who witnessed the tragedy. The SA Social Security Agency is also conducting an assessment to determine what the affected communities need.

“The department of education in the province has also started with a process of ensuring that teaching and learning proceeds at Tyelinzima Senior Secondary School. Measures to reconstruct the school are under way.”

On Tuesday, the SA National Defence Force joined OR Tambo district mayor Mesuli Ngqondwana on a site visit to inspect affected bridges and damage caused to homes and other infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the King Sabata Dalindyebo local municipality has come up with alternative routes that residents can utilise while many bridges are still inaccessible.

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