Western Cape’s department of local government says the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) will remain on high alert for possible rescue operations, as the province gears up for a cold and rainy winter.
In a statement, Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said that the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre (WCDMC) was putting contingency plans in place to keep the public safe.
Bredell said the main risks this coming season were heavy rains and flooding, cold weather, informal settlement fires, electricity constraints as well as mudslides associated with wet weather.
“All 30 municipalities in the province are preparing for the coming winter. Our municipalities have standard operating procedures and contingency plans in place to address incidents in their areas.
“These plans include emergency response, providing relief and arranging temporary shelter for affected communities,” Bredell said.
He said that several pro-active steps had been put in place already and these included an agreement with SANDF to use helicopters for rescue operations.
“The public is urged to contact the emergency services in the event of any disaster or situation where people may need help. The easiest number to remember is 112. This is a toll free number and can be dialled from any cell phone,” said Bredell.
What to do during flooding
- Monitor current flood warnings. Listen to the radio for emergency warnings, evacuation advice and weather updates.
- Avoid entering floodwater unless it is necessary, and never underestimate the strength of floodwater, even if you are inside a vehicle.
- Follow all instructions from emergency authorities.
- Turn off all electricity and water and take your cell phone with you.
- Assist elderly and disabled neighbours where possible.
- Contact the authorities as soon as possible.
What to do after the flood?
- Before entering your house, wait until the water has dropped below floor level.
- Check with electricity and water authorities to know whether it is safe for you to use these resources.
- Be aware of contamination if water sources have been flooded; this could be unsafe to drink.
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