Flood victims blame municipality

SOUTH AFRICA- Qumrha- May 2023 – After heavy rainfalls around the province of Eastern Cape. Many people had their homes flooded, in areas like Qumrha. Some members of the community had to sleep inside the flooded homes as Government officials are nowhere to seen to provide much needed aid or to access damages caused by heavy rains-Picture by BHEKI RADEBE

Residents of Siviwe township in Qumrha are blaming the Great Kei Municipality for the waterlogging that followed last week’s heavy rainfall on the municipality’s alleged poor drainage system.

When I’solezwe lesiXhosa visited this community, 54 people’s homes were flooded, leaving some homeless, some putting their damaged belongings in the sun to dry, and others cleaning up the damage that occurred.

Ntombovuyo Nongqayi, a resident, says that the municipality’s water pipes ruptured in her yard, releasing water into her house.

When the heavy rainfall began on Friday, Nongqayi says she was at work and had to hang the furniture to keep it out of the water.

“It was challenging since the water would enter the home again when you used a bucket to scoop it up and pour it outside. I have been complaining about the pain to the municipality for a while, but nothing has been done,” she stated.

NomaIndiya Felebhayi, one of the residents, said that she was in bed when she noticed the water entering the house. “I gave up going to the toilet outside because the way to it is like the ocean, and it is submerged in water,” Felebhayi explained.

Residents say that the Amathole District Municipality and the Department of Human Settlements have pledged to rebuild their homes.

Veliswa Dyobha, a resident, says, “We have been waiting for a long time for the houses to be rebuilt, as we were promised.”

Ntombizanele Mgema, the spokesperson for the Great Kei Municipality, says that the municipality is aware of the issues facing the residents of Siviwe.

“The residents had explained this issue of the way they live recently when we visited them through the IDP program.”

Gift of the Givers, an organisation that frequently provides relief to victims of disasters like these, visited East London, Gqeberha, and Qumrha, bringing aid.

More pictures of the flood damage in Qumrha by Bheki Radebe: