Disaster management teams on high alert

Friday, March 24, 2023

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Thembi Nkadimeng, has instructed the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) to remain in contact with the Eastern Cape Provincial and District Disaster Management Centres.

This follows reports of flooding in the province. Furthermore, three members of a community in the OR Tambo District Municipality have been reported missing after yesterday’s heavy rains.

Nkadimeng noted that the high amount of rainfall received has affected communities in varying degrees.

“These continuing rains are endangering the lives of communities and placing them at risk of flooding,” the Minister said.

Disaster Management Teams from across all spheres of government will continue to be on standby to provide assistance where required, as well as to ensure a coordinated response as swiftly as possible to limit the negative impact of the floods on communities.

As more rains are still expected, Nkadimeng has urged the public to be extra vigilant and exercise caution, especially in areas prone to flooding, and to also follow the regular updates and warning messages from the South African Weather Service (SAWS).

Communities are urged to work with the relevant authorities by following their instructions to ensure everyone’s safety.

The O.R. Tambo Disaster and Risk Management teams from Ingquza Hill Local municipality have been dispatched to Rhole village in Lusikisiki to gather more information on the missing three community members.

“The heavy downpours have left many areas of the district devastated as infrastructure, houses, recreational facilities and business have been flooded,” said the O.R. Tambo District Municipality in a statement.

According to the municipality, in Port St Johns, a power outage has affected the network connection and the functionality of the Mzimvumbu and Port St Johns Water Treatment Works.

“This has led to the water and sanitation treatment plants in the area to be down since yesterday. The O.R. Tambo Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation directorate is still investigating the extent of the damages,” the municipality said.

This is not the first the time the town thas been hit by floods and heavy rainfall. In April 2022, the town experienced severe flooding, which resulted in homes being damaged.

Other nearby areas affected include Mnquma, Mbashe, King Sabatha Dalindyebo, Nyandeni, Ingquza and Mbizana municipal areas.

SAWS issued a level 2 yellow warning for heavy rain causing localised flooding in affected areas, and communities in those regions are advised to remain vigilant.

The warning level is expected to rise to level 6 due to the heavy rainfall still expected.

Meanwhile, a section of the R-61 road not far from Isinuka has been washed away. The situation is being closely monitored. – SAnews.gov.za