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A review of the numbers for two severe cold fronts in June shows that the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) recorded 760 incidents, ranging from blocked drains to fallen trees and flooding. Read more below:

With winter in full swing and more rain in the forecast for the coming days, the DRMC has calculated that it recorded 760 incidents during June 2019.

The DRMC coordinates the City’s response to incidents that impact on the safety and well-being of residents.

In June, the DRMC received weather warnings from the South African Weather Service on two occasions.

Severe weather fallouts reports included flooding to varying degrees; roofs damaged or blown off by strong winds; trees and branches had fallen down, blocked drains, and power outages, amongst others.

The DRMC recorded the following notifications:

· 139 leaking/blown off/roof repair or other storm roof-related notifications

· 346 fallen trees on roads, overhead cables, and other tree related notifications

· 84 electricity outages reported between 21 and 23 June 2019

· 191 incidents were reported relating to blocked roadways and flooding in formal and informal areas

‘We are grateful for the winter rain, as it is crucial to efforts to replenish our dams, but the City is also mindful of its responsibility to protect those who are vulnerable when storm-like conditions hit the city. The focus of the City’s emergency services is always on protecting life as a first priority, to avoid damage to property or the environment and to minimise disruption,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

When a call is received, it is assessed in terms of what services are required, and whether it is a routine matter or requires emergency action.

The City’s DRMC ensures that all the required services, both internal and external are notified and mobilised as per the winter readiness plan. Internal role-players include the City’s departments responsible for water and sanitation, transport and storm water, electricity, informal settlements, public housing, building inspectors and safety and security. External stakeholders include the Social Security Agency of South Africa (SASSA), the SPCA and several others.

‘The incidents are prioritised, and staff will respond accordingly. It is therefore extremely important that anyone in need of assistance provides as much detail as possible, as that helps determine where on the list of priorities the incident can be placed if need be, particularly when staff are overrun with requests for assistance,’ added Alderman Smith.

Fake news, amplified by instant messaging and social media platforms, has become a source of concern for the City’s first responders. One such example was the hurricane warning that circulated recently. The hoax message resulted in a flood of calls to the DRMC from concerned residents.

‘Our appeal to the public is to not share these messages until they are verified. It creates unnecessary panic, and blocks the emergency lines which means persons who need assistance struggle to get through.

‘We also ask that the public help our disaster risk reduction efforts by making sure that their immediate environment is flood and fire secure, that they have a family disaster risk plan in place, in the event of an emergency, and that they report any illegal dumping and blockages of the stormwater system, as this is a major contributing factor to localised flooding during times of heavy downpours,’ said Alderman JP Smith.

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