KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has warned residents in the northern parts of the province of the imminent threat posed by the Tropical Cyclone Eloise which is expected to land tomorrow.
Currently disaster management teams, in conjunction with Community Development Workers, Councillors, Traditional Councils and Ward Committee in the uMkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo and Zululand districts have embarked on an extensive awareness drive warning communities in areas that have been identified by the South African Weather Service as areas that could experience heavy downpours, namely Big Five-Hlabisa, Jozini, Mtubatuba, uMhlabuyalingana, Abaqulusi, eDumbe, Mthonjaneni, Nongoma, Ulundi, uMlalazi and uPhongolo.
These areas could experience widespread flooding of roads and settlements as a result of the continuous heavy rains. Residents in these areas have been warned to avoid unnecessary trips which could see them stranded as a result of bridges and roads being flooded. Residents are also urged to abide by the instructions from their local disaster management officials, especially in areas where evacuations might be needed.
The department has directed municipalities in high-risk areas to ensure that public facilities, such as community halls, are placed on standby to house residents that might be displaced by the heavy rains.
Residents are urged to follow safety measures:
· Have enough potable water for at least three days,
· Have three days’ supply of non-perishable foods,
· Have a battery-powered radio and flashlight,
· Have gas or other alternative energy sources for safe heating of water and cooking,
· Have a first aid kit and a supply of chronic medication,
· Have matches and candles,
· Have enough masks, soap and sanitisers,
· Compile a list of contact details for the local emergency services, medical practitioners etc.
· Secure key documents such as IDs, bank cards etc in waterproof containers,
· Prepare an evacuation plan and decide on when and where to evacuate,
· If the building begins to collapse, shelter under a strong table, bench or heavy mattress.
Communities are further urged to make arrangements with family and friends to know their location from Sunday morning:
o stay indoors,
o wear comfortable clothes and shoes that are supportive of ankles,
o monitor the news,
o avoid low-lying areas,
o avoid the shores of rivers,
o avoid dry river beds as flash flooding can occur suddenly due to severe rain upriver,
o avoid crossing rivers by wading or driving through the water,
o avoid shelter under trees or use umbrellas when out in the rain to avoid being struck by lightning,
o act immediately if an evacuation order is given for your area.
Disaster Management Centres of the following Municipalities can be reached on: