The South African government has urged communities to heed the warning from the South African Weather Service (SAWS) and the disaster management teams across the country.
In a statement issued this Saturday, 25 February, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that Vhembe and Mopane districts in Limpopo Province may experience heavy rainfall, floods and wind damage due to the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Freddy. Said Dlamini-Zuma:
We urge all people living in low-lying or flood-prone to be careful and monitor the rising water levels and evacuate to safer areas or higher ground.
She then shared some important tips for communities to observe during the anticipated heavy rains and strong winds. These are:
- If you are on foot, be aware that low-moving water can also be dangerous during flood conditions.
- Do not drive on flooded roads or cross flooded bridges.
- Avoid crossing low-lying bridges, streams and rivers.
- Be especially vigilant at night. It is harder to recognise potentially deadly road hazards.
- Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing wate. Even if the water is 15 cm deep, it can sweep you off your feet.
- 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 powerlines.
- Motorist must be careful and avoid driving through flooded areas.
- Teach your children about the dangers of floods.
- Monitor weather alerts on radio and television.
- Keep your important documents in water-resistant containers.
- Do not camp or park your car along rivers or washes, especially during heavy rains or thunderstorms.
- Keep your cell phone near you and have emergency numbers at hand.
- Contact the municipal disaster management centres or the nearest police station or call the national emergency numbers (112, 10177 or 107) when faced with threats.