A provincial joint operations centre to deal with any possible disaster in the aftermath of cyclone Dineo was activated today (Thursday) at noon.
The Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs issued an alert about heavy rain and possible flooding expected in Vhembe and Mopani districts as a result of the weather phenomenon Dineo. “The storms can potentially cause serious problems to public and private infrastructure such as dams and storm water systems. People living in informal settlements and those located in floodplains and farms are most at risk,” Motupa Selomo, departmental spokesperson warned in a media release.
Since the press statement was issued, tropical cyclone Dineo has been downgraded to a tropical depression and is now referred to as ex-Dineo, but still severe rain storms and strong winds can be expected in these areas.
Selomo informed that the department has developed a contingency plan to mitigate and respond to possible disaster. “All district municipalities were informed about the approaching cyclone. The provincial disaster management centre (PMDC) will activate all its resources, including all staff.” He said the department was on high alert and have also assembled a multi-stakeholder team comprising of members of the Police, South African Defence Force, traffic officials, the South African Social Security Agency and ambulance services.”
In addition district disaster management officers, community development workers, ward councillors and community-based organisations have been enlisted to assist with reporting crises to improve turnaround time and an early-warning SMS service has been activated for all partners to receive the South African Weather Services’ disaster alerts.
According to Selomo it is the fifth cyclone of 2016/17 southern hemisphere cyclone season. Dineo made landfall over southern Mozambique today and is expected to bring flooding rains in the north-eastern parts of South Africa beginning today throughout the weekend.
The 24-hour Limpopo disaster toll free number is 0800 222 111.
Story: NELIE ERASMUS