South Africa: Drought Stricken Nelson Mandela Bay Flooded

Overnight downpours have left many homes and roads flooded in some parts of Nelson Mandela Bay.

Following a warning by the South African weather service (SAWS) of extreme thunderstorms and heavy downpours across the Eastern Cape, Nelson Mandela Bay residents woke up to flooded homes and roads on Saturday with some parts recording up to 37mm of rain.

Townships seem to be the worst affected as residents allege that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) has neglected the maintenance of stormwater for years.

Kwazakhele Township resident, Chwayita Ngqawana says they’ve reported the issue to the municipality for years, but nothing has been done about it.

“This is not the first time our homes have been flooded, over the years we’ve reported the issue of blocked storm drains to the previous councillor and even the new one, but nothing has been done about it, ” Ngqawana said.

Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Retief Odendaal has admitted that the municipality has indeed neglected the maintenance of storm water drainage systems.

“We’re aware that the drainage system of storm water drains has been neglected for years and has caused many problems for residents. We urge residents to come forward and help in ascertaining where the weak points are in our storm water drainage systems, and where work is needed.” He said.

In June, Nelson Mandela Bay was a mere three days away from Day Zero of no water. No significant dam-filling rain had fallen in the metro in six years, resulting in prolonged drought.

Although these downpours may have seemed significant, SAWS’ weather guru Garth Sampson says to alleviate the current water crisis, a lot more rain is required.

“Unfortunately, only 0.2 to 4.6 millimeters of rain had been recorded in the catchment areas, and runoff from the rains would not be apparent for several days.” Said Sampson.

In the upcoming days, Sampson said the Bay area should expect some light rain.

Sampson added:”Nothing can stop the water crisis at this time,”

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