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Rescue services in South Africa are on high alert as tropical storm Dineo makes its way into the country after it claimed seven lives and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in neighbouring Mozambique.

“All the disaster management teams are ready and we are also encouraged by the fact that other provinces such as Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape and North West pledged to assist the affected provinces where the need arises by providing specialised emergency services.

“It is important to note that even if government can be ready, the success of the plans being implemented requires communities to cooperate and adhere to the tips issued,” the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said on Friday.

Mpumalanga, northern KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo were bracing themselves for heavy rains and winds. Rain from the system started affecting Mpumalanga and Limpopo on Thursday.

“Rain has already begun in the Ehlanzeni district municipality of Mpumalanga and it is expected to become heavy as the night continues and spreading through other areas,” the department said.

“The expected level of impact will be severe with rain of up to 200mm in 24 hours still expected and the wind speed of just below 100km/h.

“The likely impact are widespread flooding that could result in damage to roads and bridges, thus cutting off communities, displace others and straining the emergency services.

“Communities are warned about the dangers that the cyclone poses and are urged to be careful and take precautions as complacency might lead to loss of life.”

Other areas expected to be severely affected are Mbombela, Nkomazi and Bushbuckridge areas in Mpumalanga and Mopani, Phalaborwa, Tzaneen, Giyani, Maruleng, Malamulele, Musina and Thulamela in Limpopo.

The department said the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints), comprising various government departments and institutions such as Cogta, the SAPS, the SANDF, among others, have been constituted. A plan to mitigate the effects of the storm was being implemented.

Three Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (ProvJoints) of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal are complementing the work of the NatJoints.

The KZN ProvJoints has been activated as a precaution, as there is a chance of being impacted by heavy rainfall in the northern parts of the province.

African News Agency