Mitigating winter weather risks

2019-05-28 06:00
JP Smith.

JP Smith.

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Continuing efforts to prepare for the winter season, the City of Cape Town embarked on a walkabout in Athlone to assess the progress of the work aimed to reduce the risk of flooding and other impacts from severe weather episodes.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, led the walkabout. He says the City wants to ensure that it can react swiftly to any worst-case scenarios.

The initiative is headed by the Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC). The plan is to coordinate a multi-departmental response to any risks that may result from flooding or storms over the winter period.

Involved departments include the Disaster Risk Management Centre, Solid Waste Management, Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Community Services, Transport for Cape Town Asset Management and Maintenance, the Public Emergency Communication Centre, Traffic Service, Fire and Rescue Service, Development Services, Electricity Generation and Distribution and Human Settlements.

However, Smith said these efforts could not be a success without a cooperation between the residents and the City. He urged residents to play their part in avoiding the unnecessary blockages.

“For instance, an annual occurrence over the winter months is the increase in sewerage and stormwater system blockages and overflows due to illegal dumping. Residents must also please reduce the risk to their properties by ensuring that gutters are cleaned, that trees are pruned and that there are no obstructions in waterways around the home that could result in flooding or water damage.”

Illegal dumping into stormwater channels and the sewers is costly to the City.

According to the statement the winter readiness plan includes:

. Identifying at-risk informal settlements and moving residents to higher ground or implementing flood-mitigation measures. The City has identified 29 high-risk areas to prioritise, which include informal settlements in Khayelitsha, Philippi, Gugulethu, Klipheuwel and Strand;

. Ongoing education and awareness programmes around flood and fire awareness This includes practical tips on how to raise floor levels, divert flood waters and reduce the health hazards associated with stagnant water;

. Cleaning critical stormwater infrastructure in high flood-risk areas and removing invasive aquatic and terrestrial plants along key river corridors;

. Proactive pruning/maintenance of trees to minimise the risk of falling branches and debris;

. Issuing of weather warnings to residents, based on advisories received from the South African Weather Service;

. Service level agreement with the South African Social Service Agency to provide humanitarian aid to residents in distress and discomfort as a result of flooding and storm damage;

. Collaborating with the Recreation and Parks Department to identify and activate emergency shelter if residents are displaced during severe weather episodes.

Funding has allowed for the creation of additional temporary capacity at qualifying shelters to accommodate street people.

Smith says last year DRM responded to 377 flood incidents which affected 7 435 people.

He advised residents to report flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions to the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089.

V Enquiries or complaints about leaking water mains, faulty and leaking water meters, blocked and overflowing sewers can be sent via SMS to 31373 and to 31220 for electricity related issues, or call the Public Emergency Communication centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

Continuing efforts to prepare for the winter season, the City of Cape Town embarked on a walkabout in Athlone to assess the progress of the work aimed to reduce the risk of flooding and other impacts from severe weather episodes.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, led the walkabout. He says the City wants to ensure that it can react swiftly to any worst-case scenarios. The initiative is headed by the Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC). The plan is to coordinate a multi-departmental response to any risks that may result from flooding or storms over the winter period. Involved departments include the Disaster Risk Management Centre, Solid Waste Management, Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Community Services, Transport for Cape Town Asset Management and Maintenance, the Public Emergency Communication Centre, Traffic Service, Fire and Rescue Service, Development Services, Electricity Generation asnd Distribution and Human Settlements.

However, Smith said these efforts could not be a success without a cooperation between the residents and the City. He urged residents to play their part in avoiding the unnecessary blockages. “For instance, an annual occurrence over the winter months is the increase in sewerage and stormwater system blockages and overflows due to illegal dumping. Residents must also please reduce the risk to their properties by ensuring that gutters are cleaned, that trees are pruned and that there are no obstructions in waterways around the home that could result in flooding or water damage.”

Illegal dumping into stormwater channels and the sewers is costly to the City.

According to the statement the winter readiness plan includes:

. Identifying at-risk informal settlements and moving residents to higher ground or implementing flood-mitigation measures. The City has identified 29 high-risk areas to prioritise, which include informal settlements in Khayelitsha, Philippi, Gugulethu, Klipheuwel and Strand;

. Ongoing education and awareness programmes around flood and fire awareness This includes practical tips on how to raise floor levels, divert flood waters and reduce the health hazards associated with stagnant water;

. Cleaning critical stormwater infrastructure in high flood-risk areas and removing invasive aquatic and terrestrial plants along key river corridors;

. Proactive pruning/maintenance of trees to minimise the risk of falling branches and debris;

. Issuing of weather warnings to residents, based on advisories received from the South African Weather Service;

. Service level agreement with the South African Social Service Agency to provide humanitarian aid to residents in distress and discomfort as a result of flooding and storm damage;

. Collaborating with the Recreation and Parks Department to identify and activate emergency shelter if residents are displaced during severe weather episodes.

Funding has allowed for the creation of additional temporary capacity at qualifying shelters to accommodate street people.

Smith says last year DRM responded to 377 flood incidents which affected 7 435 people.

He advised residents to report flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions to the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089.

V Enquiries or complaints about leaking water mains, faulty and leaking water meters, blocked and overflowing sewers can be sent via SMS to 31373 and to 31220 for electricity related issues, or call the Public Emergency Communication centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

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