St Francis Bay homes devastated by storm water – Photo Gallery

A massive river of water and debris flows hit the quiet upmarket suburb of Santareme early this morning and made its natural way down to sea – almost taking with it two whole houses along with other debris.

River of water and debris hits Tom Brown Boulevard in Santareme. Photo by Anni Macleod

Above: River of water as it was starting to subside as most of it has flowed through the two houses to the sea. Photo: Mary Lou Neate.

Devastation in Santareme – at Mike Denbury’s house in Tom Brown Boulevard. The house to the left, belongs to Paddy Oosthuizen. Other photos, below

The two neighbouring house in the upmarket Tom Brown Boulevard were left standing on their hinges but their gardens and furniture have been ruined, perhaps totally. The one belonging to Paddy Oosthuizen suffered a lesser fate than that belonging to Mike Denbury next door.

The whole wall bordering the road and parts of the road iself have been washed away in front of his house. Huge craters are now left like giant open wounds in the road and the traffic department has closed off the road (at 9.30 am).

Many people came to have a look and the Kouga Municipality and members of St Francis Bay’s disaster management service, including the volunteer members of the NSRI and the St Francis Bay fire officer, are on hand to give advice and help out where necessary.

A spokesman for the municipality said that a full comment would only be available after its officials have finished investigating and assessing the damage – probably only on Monday.

In the interim engineers at the scene told St Francis Chronicle that nature was taking its course. They said the water that collects in the dunes  that run alongside St Francis Drive to the Port  probably overflowed and forced its way down Dias Road to the sea at around 8.30 am this morning. Engineers and environmental scientists have been warning St Francis Bay residents for years that the water in the dunes could overflow and cause damage. “This is not something new! The dune dams have overflowed throughout history.” 

Long time resident Sandra Hardie agrees: ” Of course years ago when we first came to SFB that (area) was all still sand dunes; we can remember some pretty strong rivers coming down.”

Among the photos below, there are photos of the dunes filled with water after heavy rains in June and July this year. There has been much more rain since so the dams became too full, it appears. The photos also show the front of Denbury’s house facing the sea and show damaged furniture and water debris that has collected in the house. It seems water ran right through the house and in parts of Paddy’s house as well.

Paddy was on her way back from PE as the article was being written.

According to fire office Keith Donaldson he was moving furniture frantically upstairs this morning when the river of water flowed down the hill past his property and that of Sandy Campbell.

More photos of the river of water and debris running down the road will be added later.

Photos taken and articles of the origins of the river of water and debris have been published previously by St Francis Chronicle last year (2011) and earlier this year (in June and July 2012) about the build up of water in the dunes. 

Aerial photo of the dunes’ area showing the dams that have received plenty of rain since then. Photo taken by Roland Peacock. Pilot Herman Pieterson, July 2012.

Aerial Photo by Roland Peacock of the dams of water in the dunes. Pilot Herman Pieterson.

Dams of water in the dunes. Aerial photo by Roland Peacock. Pilot; Herman Pieterson


See a short video of river of water and debris flowing through Santarme: – uploaded to You Tube by Ryan Osborne

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