With the unprecedented storm that smashed Durban and surrounds on Tuesday, paramedics and other local rescue services have been kept extremely busy.
ER24 said severe flooding of roads occurred in Amanzimtoti, N2 between Amanzimtoti and M7 Bluff, a mudslide near Doonside and several other roads have been closed off. Paramedics were alerted of several vehicles that were under water along the N2.
Heavy rainfall also contributes to smaller rivers and low-lying areas to fill up quickly, leaving dangerous conditions across large parts the area.
ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak issued a press release on dos and don’ts and how to stay safe in such a weather event:
A flash flood is a rapid flooding of a low-lying area. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm, hurricane or even a tropical storm. Flash floods are distinguished from regular floods by a timescale of less than six hours. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live in areas prone to flash floods, plan accordingly to protect your family and property.
Keep an eye out for weather warnings, radio announcements and news articles. Only trust warnings from verified sources and do not distribute warnings circulating on WhatsApp and other social media channels that cannot be verified. These warnings cause unnecessary panic and may cause further harm.
Keep emergency numbers and important information handy. Also keep emergency supplies such as water, canned food, a can opener, battery-operated radio, flashlight and protective clothing ready.
Keep a first aid kit.
Turn off all your household electrical devices.
Lock all doors and windows.
Leave the area before it gets too late. Get to higher ground.
Should you be outdoors or in your vehicle, do the following:
Climb to higher ground and stay there.
Avoid walking through floodwaters – even 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet.
If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground.
Never drive through a flooded road or low-water bridge as the road may be washed away.
If you get swept away in the flood waters, try to grab onto anything you can to pull yourself to safety.
Getting swept away while inside your vehicle can be extremely dangerous. If you are stuck inside your vehicle, roll down the windows and open the doors to allow water into your vehicle. Doing this will equal the pressure on both sides of the door, allowing you to escape your vehicle.