Ndlambe Municipality will be applying for disaster relief funding following serious structural damage along its coastline after Saturday’s flooding and damage caused by a “high tide” event.
“We are busy putting a business plan together and hope to have the documentation completed by Tuesday September 19,” said deputy director of Community Protection Services, Fanie Fouche.
“However we are still monitoring the spring tide event which is forecasted for this evening [Sunday] and will have to check if there is any other damage as a result of this.”
Streets in Port Alfred’s CBD affected by flooding after Saturday’s high tide event that caused the Kowie to overflow its banks, had all dried up by Sunday morning September 17.
However the NSRI has warned residents on major coastlines to be vigilant and avoid shorelines and beaches during this afternoon’s spring high tide that will peak between 3pm and 6pm Sunday September 17. The NSRI and emergency service are on high alert, since the large sea swells that swamped shorelines along the South African coastline are still active today, driven by strong winds.
Businesses in PA’s CBD didn’t seem too affected by the flooding the previous night, despite some roads such as Campbell and Van der Riet Streets being closed off temporarily after the incident. Owner at Market Trader Store in Van der Riet Street Jo Styles, said water had seeped into her business but fortunately it was limited to the front of the shop. A few items were being dried outside.
“We had water which was about a hand-width deep outside come in under the door, but thankfully we have tiled floors and we didn’t really have lots of damage but just a lot of damp stuff that needs to dry.”
About Sunday evening’s expected spring tide she said: “Well there’s nothing we can do, we’ve unplugged and lifted everything that might be affected. Nature does what nature does … and we can only keep our fingers crossed.”
Another owner at a water shop was going about his businesss unfazed by the previous night’s events. With a shrug of his shoulders he said: “We are okay. There was water in front but mostly in the car park.”
On Sunday at 10.30am Fanie Fouche, deputy director of Community Protection Services for Ndlambe Municipality, said they had experienced high winds and seas throughout Saturday night and have deployed officials from Cannon Rocks to Fish River to do a damage assessment of that stretch of coastline.
“Low tide was at 9am [Sunday] and the officials are moving in a westerly direction towards the Fish as we speak to assess the damage. But I can confirm there has been severe damage to car parks and coastal infrastructure in that area. Cannon Rocks was not too severely affected but Boknes car park near the lagoon has experienced structural damage, including the retaining walls.
“The Bushman’s River Parking area has basically washed away … a lot of signage was washed away and there was structural damage to the ablution block and sections of the Bushman’s Sea beach and the Bushman’s River Beach,” said Fouche.
The onrushing tide swept up by high winds caused major damage to the Middle Beach parking area in Kenton.
“There was structural damage to the lower car park walls at Middle Beach and damage to the car park itself. The Kariega main beach we lost our blue flag tower which was taken out by the sea … so there is some beach erosion there and at the Kariega slipway.
Port Alfred’s coastline did not of course escape the full force of the incoming tide.
“From Flame Lily area, the paved section down at the bottom of West Beach Rd, there’s a huge pile of sand in the road, so we have closed the road off on both sides,” said Fouche. People musn’t drive through there, otherwise they will get stuck, the waves have come over the stone wall which is still standing.
“A section of Kelly’s beach embankment collapsed and a section of the stone wall in front of it has also collapsed. There’s some damage to the disabled access ramp, so for now we don’t want people to use the facilities at Kelly’s.
“The sandbags that have been there since 2010 have held up well and offered some protection to the embankment at Kelly’s but some [sandbags] of them have moved. Towards West Beach the wave action resulted in sand being pushed up against Guido’s and Beach bar.
“We are still on our way to Kleinemonde to see what is happening in terms of any damages there.”
Meanwhile, Fouche said a big bush fire raging in the Shaw Park area and heading towards the Fish River area has been brought under control. They were however still monitoring it, due to the high winds.
“Our fire department received a call at 9.10pm on Saturday night … they were dispatched and sent out an immediate call for back-up. The fire started on the second farm on the Shaw park Road and was heading in the direction of Kap River with a strong south-westerly behind it. The fire department has indicated that some areas are inaccessible by vehicle.
“Working on Fire has activated 11 members who are on foot assisting with fires together with farmers and Ndlambe fire crews. We had to do a backburn due to the wind changing direction and fortunately the head of the fire has been brought under control. We are at this moment not too sure of the extent of the area due to the difficulty of the terrain.”
Kenton residents have expressed shock at the destruction by storm surges of Middle Beach’s iconic Carriage Rock.
Meanwhile Kenton Round Table have already put their hand up for cleaning up and restoring Middle Beach, with a cleanup scheduled for Saturday, September 30, 2023 from 9am to 3pm. They have asked volunteers to brring cleaning supplies, gloves and a positive spirit.