Durban — The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in KwaZulu-Natal has provided safety tips for residents and motorists during inclement weather in the province.
Cogta MEC Sihle Zikalala said disaster management teams continued to monitor the ongoing weather conditions, which affect large parts of the province.
Zikalala said the South African Weather Service’s most recent warning said today’s (Monday) rain in the southern parts of the province could cause problems.
He said these rains brought the possibility of localised flooding in low-lying areas, susceptible settlements, roads and bridges.
“Residents of eThekwini, Mkhambathini, Ray Nkonyeni, Richmond, Msunduzi, uBuhlebezwe, Umdoni, Umuziwabantu and uMzumbe are asked to pay attention to this warning and take all the necessary precautions,” Zikalala said.
He added that the Provincial Disaster Management Centre had activated the Joint Operations Committee which would meet daily with all disaster management teams from municipalities to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile, Cogta has provided these safety tips for residents and motorists:
- 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.
- Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing water. Even if the water is 15cm deep, it can sweep you off your feet.
- Motorists must be very careful and avoid driving through flooded areas.
- Drive to and park in safer areas.
- The public must monitor weather alerts on radio and television.
- The public should contact their ward councillor or nearest municipal disaster management centres.
- Do not try to drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly across it and the ground is not visible.
- Teach your children about the dangers of floods.
- Keep your important documents in a water-resistant container.
- Keep your cellphone close to you and have emergency numbers at hand.
- Be especially vigilant at night. It is harder to recognise potentially deadly road hazards.
- Do not camp or park your car along rivers or washes, especially during heavy rains or thunderstorms.
- 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.
Earlier, the eThekwini Municipality urged motorists to exercise extreme caution and maintain a safe following distance while driving on wet roads as the city experiences rains.
“Rain is expected to cause tree branches to fall onto roadways creating traffic hazards,” the municipality said.
“The city’s disaster management teams will be on standby to monitor the situation.”
The municipality added that in case of an emergency, the public can contact the city’s Disaster Management Centre at 031 361 0000.