South Africa – Evacuations, Rescues and Road Chaos After Storms and Floods in Western Cape

Days of heavy rain have caused widespread flooding in Western Cape Province in South Africa, where hundreds of people have evacuated flooded homes and dozens of roads have been closed.

Floods in Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa, September 2023. Photo: Overberg District Municipality

South Africa Weather Service warned of widespread flooding and damaging winds over Eastern and Western Cape Provinces from 23 to 26 September 2023 as an intense cut-off low moved over the south of the country.

Wide areas of Western Cape have been negatively impacted. Wind damage left thousands without power, while heavy rain and flooding has prompted closures on all major roadways, including the N1, N2, R60 and R62, causing significant disruptions.

The Bot River broke its banks in the town of Botrivier, flooding wide areas of the N2 highway making it completely inaccessible.

Local media reported a bus overturned in Jakes Gerwel Drive in Cape Town, leaving 3 people dead and 21 injured. At the time it was not clear if the accident was a result of severe weather conditions.

Severe flooding was reported in Mfuleni Township, about 30 km from Cape Town, after the Kuils River burst its banks. According to the Ground Up News Agency flooding in homes has forced around 2,000 families to evacuate. One person died after being electrocuted in flood water. There were also reports of evacuation in Faure and Sandvlei.

Homes in Sandvlei were flooded when the Eersterivier burst its banks. Photo: Ground Up via Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0

Overberg District Municipality reported two people were missing and their bodies later recovered in floods in separate incidents in Villiersdorp and Botriver bridge. Municipality officials also reported 7 families were rescued from flooded homes in Elgin Timbers, approximately 30 people were rescued in areas along the  flooding Klein River, and 4 people were rescued after taking refuge on the roofs of buildings after flooding in  Greyton.

During a briefing on 25 September, Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said one person was swept away in Groot Brakrivier after part of a road along with a vehicle were washed away. One person was rescued from the vehicle but the second person is still missing.

Emergency services rescued around 6 children trapped in flooded homes in Strand. Residents of a building at risk of collapse were evacuated in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village.

Floods in Cape Agulhas Municipality, Western Cape, South Arica, September 2023. Photo: Cape Agulhas Municipality
Floods in Overstrand Municipality, Western Cape Province, South Africa, September 2023. Photo: Overstrand Municipality