People in Kariega queue for hours to collect water after devastating storm

Gift of the Givers has been delivering hundreds of litres of water daily and set up 12 soup kitchens in the township of KwaNobuhle.

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Residents of KwaNobuhle in Kariega lined the streets carrying empty buckets and containers to collect water from tankers on Thursday. Taps have been dry since last week after the storm damaged water infrastructure. Photos: Thamsanqa Mbovane

Households in KwaNobuhle township in Kariega lined the streets on Thursday for over five hours, carrying empty buckets and containers to collect water from tankers.

This is because KwaNobuhle has been without running water this week after the KwaNobuhle trunk pipe was damaged by severe flooding at Bucwa Street.

“Residents will experience water disruptions in KwaNobuhle, as a major water main from reservoir 3 and 4 has unfortunately been washed away. Teams are on-site to close the reservoir outlet to make it safe. Almost 75% of KwaNobuhle will be without water in the interim. Water trucks will be mobilised once rain has stopped,” the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality said in a statement this week.

This follows last week’s destructive storm. This storm caused Laetitia Bam Day Hospital, the largest local clinic in KwaNobuhle, to close. Patients are now being served at a local church.

Pensioner Buyiswa Benelwa’s RDP in Duduza (Ward 45) was among the scores of homes badly damaged in the storm.

“We are battling with scarce water while we must also fix our RDP houses. I was asleep last Saturday when I heard heavy hail pelting my roof. I woke up and when I stepped on the floor, I felt water below my knees.”

The 75-year-old, who is also blind, said she was carried out of the house by her nephew just before the walls collapsed. “I cried and called out to my mother,” said Benelwa.

On Thursday, Gift of the Givers volunteers were on the ground to distribute thousands of litres of water to residents of Duduza, including Benelwa and her family.

The organisation also supplied two water trucks, along with another non-profit called Sinako, to distribute water to affected areas.

Ali Sablay, project manager at Gift of the Givers, told GroundUp, “We deliver hundreds of litres of water every day in KwaNobuhle. We have also set up 12 soup kitchens in the township. Once mop up operations finish, we will also deliver food parcels. The situation is dire.”

Sablay said they would try to find a safe place for Benelwa to stay until the house is repaired.

On Friday morning, some parts of KwaNobuhle were still without water. Ward 44 Councillor, Luzuko Ndamse (ANC), said, “We urge people to be patient. I have been informed by the municipality that water could be restored by tonight.”

The busy Jabavu Street bridge caved in during the storm.

TOPICS:  Disaster Nelson Mandela Bay water Crisis

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