By Zolile Menzelwa
The provincial government has sent teams to those districts affected by recent heavy rains to assess the damage.
At least one teenage girl drowned in Joe Gqabi, hundreds of animals died in Lady Grey and Sterkspruit and hundreds of houses collapsed.
While the situation in the province was not as dire as in KwaZulu-Natal where 11 people were killed and properties damaged, local government and traditional affairs (Cogta) spokesman Mamkeli Ngam said MEC Fikile Xasa had sent senior officials to all the districts.
He said the teams, which had been withdrawn last week because of bad weather, would now return to calculate the losses to help the provincial government decide what action to take.
Ngam said reports had confirmed that more than 500 goats in Lady Grey and Sterkspruit had been killed in the cold and wet weather.
In Joe Gqabi municipality, spokesman Mandla Gceya said a 19-year-old girl from Tsokong village had drowned while crossing a river on her way to school.
“From the same incident of October 4 and 5 the number of livestock that died moved from 500 to 1750 after assessments – 60 smallholding farms have been affected,” Gceya said.
The areas include Barkly East, Mount Fletcher and Sterkspruit.
Buffalo City Metro spokeswoman Bathandwa Diamond said the metro had received only one report of a house that had collapsed in Duncan Village.
“The city’s disaster management unit attended to the matter and escalated the case to the relevant departments,” she said.
OR Tambo spokesman Ayongenzwa Lungisa said there had been only minor damage to about 23 houses in Slovo township.
“We have sent a team to check the extent of the damage because despite [the residents] having [illegally] grabbed [the] land they are still people,” he said.
There had been no property or infrastructural damage in Alfred Nzo, the district’s spokesman Lubabalo Majenge said.
Two households in the Amathole District Municipality were damaged.
Spokesman Siyabulela Makunga said a privately owned farm in Great Kei and a village house in Mnquma municipalities had been affected.
He could not say whether they had collapsed or been flooded.
“ADM assessment teams have been dispatched to assess the extent of the damage,” Makunga said.
The municipal communicators all welcomed the rain, saying it had helped to ease the drought that had gripped the Eastern Cape.
As a result, some dams were overflowing – a welcome development.
No responses had been received from Chris Hani District Municipality while attempts to get comment from Nelson Mandela Bay metro and Sarah Baartman district municipality had been unsuccessful at the time of writing.