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KZN government urges communities to move from low-lying areas amid heavy rains

Communities have been urged to relocate from low-lying areas amid heavy rains. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Communities have been urged to relocate from low-lying areas amid heavy rains. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Published May 21, 2022

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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal government has urged communities in low-lying areas to relocate and seek safer shelter amid persistent heavy rains that have caused road closures in some parts of the province.

KZN is currently experiencing heavy rain in a number of areas that will last until Sunday.

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The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs activated disaster management teams as early as Friday after receiving a warning from the South African Weather Service.

MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka said heavy rains continued to cause major blockages on roads, and disaster management teams were working round the clock to direct traffic to alternative routes.

“The department has received reports of mudslides, which are being followed up by the disaster teams.

“Residents in low-lying areas are urged to seek shelter on higher ground, and community halls have been opened for those that need shelter.

“We appeal to our communities in the areas that will be affected to remain calm and to follow all necessary precautions.

“Residents who reside in structures that could be compromised by the heavy rains are urged to evacuate,” he said.

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Hlomuka said so far no fatalities had been reported.

Regarding the danger spots, Hlomuka said about 16 areas, especially those on the coast, were likely to be affected. Places such as Nongoma, Ulundi to Umhlabuyalingana were also listed as high risk.

The government has advised citizens to follow these safety precautions amid the heavy rains:

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• If you are in one of the affected areas, stay indoors and off the roads, and avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where the water is above the ankles.

• If you are trapped in a vehicle during a flood, abandon it and climb to higher ground.

• In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level.

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• In rural areas, protect animals by moving them to a safe place on higher ground.

• Take caution when travelling, or avoid travelling altogether, as roads may be flooded and potholes filled with water.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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