Flood alert in Mpumalanga

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
By: 
Mandla Khoza

Mpumalanga - Mpumalanga communities living in low-lying areas and next to flood lines have been warned to be on the alert because of heavy rains in the province since Tuesday.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs issued a stern warning on Wednesday as heavy rains continued to fall, and also instructed all municipalities to be on standby in case rescue efforts were needed.

"Weather forecasts have indicated that rains will continue for the next few days, which may result in disastrous incidents if the community is not on the alert.

"The department would also like to warn all road users to be careful because the roads are wet and, in some areas, rocks have been falling on the roads," said department spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene.

He said the continued rain could lead to an increase in dam and river levels, which would make even small streams dangerous.

"We'd like to urge parents to warn their children not to play next to streams or rivers," he added.

In case of flooding, Kunene said, people should move to higher ground if possible.

"Before crossing rivers, either on foot or in vehicles, people should also check whether the water level is rising. If they get trapped in a vehicle in water, they should rather abandon it. People should also try to secure their houses, especially the roofs, as some of the rain storms are accompanied by strong winds," said Kunene.

On Tuesday in the Nkomazi area, 17 homes and two schools were severely damaged during a storm.