The Limpopo MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA), Basikopo Makamu, and the Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders have urged communities to be cautious when travelling in the forecasted heavy rain.

The Provincial Disaster Management Center (PDMC) is in contact with district and local disaster management centres coordinating with all the role players as the heavy downpours are expected in the Mopani and Vhembe Districts.

“The Provincial Disaster Management teams at Mopani and Vhembe Districts are on high alert as Tropical Cyclone Freddy is expected over the weekend,” said Makamu.

“We have just had heavy down falls in the past few days that resulted in untold damages – vehicles submerged and swept away, trapped homeowners on roofs, collapsed walls and decimated shacks and houses,” he said.

Makamu said disaster teams will continue to monitor the situation and give support on an ongoing basis.

Due to the expected heavy downpours over this weekend, many areas will be flooded, rivers will be overflowing across a number of rivers, some people might lose properties and infrastructure like buildings, roads, electricity and bridges might also be damaged.

The province has received large quantities of rain in the past two weeks as per the recent reports from the South African Weather Service (SAWS).

There are areas that are known to be prone to flooding as such communities in the Mopani and Vhembe areas are requested to treat Tropical Cyclone Freddy as dangerous and desist from endangering their lives.

People should adhere to the following 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.

– Motorists must be very careful and avoid driving through flooded areas.

– Drive to and park at safer areas.

– The public must monitor weather alerts on radio and television.

– The public should contact their municipal disaster management centres or the nearest police station or call the national emergency numbers (112, 10177 or 107) when faced with threats.

– Do not try to drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly across it and the ground is not visible.

– Teach your children about the dangers of floods.

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

– Keep your cell phone in close 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 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.

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter