As tropical cyclone Eloise approaches, disaster management in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal is on high alert.
Disrupting storm Eloise, currently in the centre of the Mozambique Channel, is expected to reach South Africa on Sunday.
The South African Weather Service expect the fierce hurricane to cause significant rainfall, which could cause flooding and strong winds in several parts of the country, in the northeast of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The heavy rainfall and storms will hit most parts of Mpumalanga, where most of Eskom’s power stations are situated and may reach Lephalale, where two of electricity generator’s other large power stations are operating.
These power stations have been alerted and have begun making preparations to implement the “wet coal” contingency plans
Minister of Cooperate Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, stressed the need for people to be very careful and safe during heavy rains and storms that are likely to wreak havoc in most parts of the country.
Minister urges the communities to plan with family and friends starting from Sunday morning and to know their locations.
This includes staying indoors, wearing comfortable clothes and shoes that support their ankles, check the news, and avoiding lying in low-lying areas, avoid river banks, avoid dry riverbeds because of sudden flooding as heavy rain can occur in rivers, don’t cross rivers, hike or drive-in water, don’t seek shelter under trees or use umbrellas when raining, avoid lightning strikes and act at once when authorities issue an evacuation order in their areas.
Residents should make sure they have at least three days of drinking water, nonperishable food, battery-powered radios and flashlights, extra batteries, gas or other alternative energy sources to heat and boil water, first aid kits, and drinking water for chronic supplies of medicine, fire extinguishers and/or fire blankets, matches and candles, masks, soap and sanitisers, blankets, contact details for local emergency services and medical professionals, identity cards and bank cards in watertight containers.
“National, provincial, and municipal disaster control centres in these areas activate their disaster control centres and will meet regularly with government agencies to coordinate preparation and response efforts if needed.”
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Dlamini-Zuma appealed to the public to keep social distancing and take other precautions.
“People are asked to strengthen their properties to withstand strong winds and heavy rains and safeguarding their livestock and pets in high-lying areas,” added Dlamini-Zuma.