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Disaster teams on high alert as disruptive rains forecast for KZN - Cogta

Cogta KZN said severe weather over parts of the province on Thursday and Friday, measuring level 9 and 5 respectively in terms of the scale of impact, could spell disaster for communities living in low-lying areas.

Heavy rain in Durban. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency(ANA).

Published Jan 5, 2023


Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said MEC Sihle Zikalala has placed disaster teams on high alert after the SA Weather Service issued a severe weather warning for large parts of the province on Thursday and Friday.

In a statement on Wednesday, department spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila, said the alert indicates that large parts of KZN can expect disruptive rainfall, which brings the probability of widespread flooding across large parts of the province on January 5 and 6.

“These weather warnings, which have been placed on level 9 and 5 respectively in terms of the scale of impact and likelihood could spell disaster for communities living in low lying areas,” he said.

Mzila said the Provincial Disaster Management Centre has activated the Joint Operations Committee (JOC), which will meet daily with all disaster management teams from municipalities to take stock of the situation.

These rains bring the possibility of localised flooding in low lying areas and settlements and for roads, and bridges, he said.

Residents of the following areas are urged to pay attention to the level 9 weather warning and take all the necessary precautions:

EThekwini, Big Five Hlabisa, Hluhluwe, Jozini, KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Maphumulo, Mkhambathini, Mthonjaneni, Mtubatuba, Ndwedwe, Richmond, uMsunduzi, uMhlabayalingane, uMhlathuze, uMlalazi and uMshwathi.

A level 5 weather warning for disruptive rain has been issued for:

Abaqulusi, Alfred Duma Indaka, Alfred Duma - Ladysmith, Dannhauser, Dr N Dlamini-Zuma-Underberg, eDumbe, eMadlangeni, Endumeni, Greater Kokstad, Impendle, Ingwe, Inkosi Langalibalele Escourt, Inkosi Langalibalele Sobabili, Mpofana Giants Castle, Mpofana- Mooi River, Msinga, Newcastle, Nkandla, Nongoma, Nquthu, Okhahlamba, Ray Nkonyeni, Ubuhlebezwe. Ulundi, Umdoni, uMngeni, UMuziwabantu, Umvoti, Umzimkhulu and Umzumbe.

Mzila said residents in the affected areas are requested to restrict unnecessary travelling as this might place them in danger.

He warned parents to be vigilant and guard children so that they do not swim in rivers or go near large bodies of water.

“The province of KZN has not fully recovered from the floods that took place last year, residents are urged to heed these warnings and to not take unnecessary risks,” he said.

EThekwini Municipality said mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has instructed all disaster management teams and emergency personnel to be on standby.

Kaunda called upon members of the public planning to travel to postpone their journeys until it is safe to travel.

In the event of an emergency, members of the public in eThekwini can call 031 3610000.

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.

- Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing water. Even if the water is 15 cm deep, it can sweep you off your feet;

- Motorist must be very careful and avoid driving through flooded 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.

- Keep your important documents in a water-resistant container.

- Keep your cellphone in proximity 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 floodwaters. The water may be contaminated with raw sewage, oil or other dangerous substances, and may also be charged with electricity from fallen powerlines.