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Flooding: disaster warning

Flooding: disaster warning
Flooding hit Komani after heavy rains caused the Komani River to overflow. (Photo: Supplied)

As heavy rains continue to pound South Africa, the government has alerted the country to major risks being faced – and has issued advice to people and communities.

Disaster management teams are on high alert across South Africa amid continuing downpours, which have already resulted in untold damage – vehicles submerged and swept away, trapped homeowners stranded on roofs, collapsed walls and decimated shacks and houses.

Many areas are flooded, rivers are overflowing in a number of provinces, people have lost property, and infrastructure like roads and bridges have been damaged.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) said on Sunday the adverse weather conditions showed no signs of abating.

Lungi Mtshali, spokesman for Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), said Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma urged communities across the country to provide assistance to those in need and affected by the flooding, especially those displaced as they had lost homes or been flooded out of shelters.

People and organisations able to donate basic necessities were encouraged to assist, working with municipalities and affected communities themselves.


COGTA issued the following safety tips:

– People living in low-lying areas must take special care during storms, as sudden floods might affect them. They should monitor the rising water levels and evacuate the areas to a safer place or higher spot when the water level rises.

– Do not cross through flooded roads or bridges – use other routes.

– Avoid crossing low-lying bridges, streams and rivers.

– Motorists must be very careful and avoid driving through flooded areas.

– Drive to and park at safer areas.

– The public should contact their municipal disaster management centres or the nearest police station or call the national emergency numbers (112, 10177 or 107) when faced with threats.

– Do not try to drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly across it and the ground is not visible.

– If you are on foot, be aware that low moving water can also be dangerous during flood conditions. If you come upon moving water, do not walk into it.

– Where possible, communities are encouraged to try to avoid contact with any flood waters. The water may be contaminated with raw sewage, oil or other dangerous substances, and may also be charged with electricity from fallen power lines. DM


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