I am extremely saddened by the devastation wrought by a severe thunderstorm in Region 2, north of the city, last night. The thunderstorm caused significant damage to at least 31 houses in Refentse (formerly Stinkwater) and New Eersterus.
The City's Emergency Services Department has assessed the damage and, along with the City's Community and Social Development Services Department, has identified a community centre to temporarily accommodate the affected households. I have requested that the Emergency Services Department monitor the situation and provide me with regular feedback.
I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the affected families in these difficult times, and hope that the damages may be speedily repaired where possible or that, working with the City, suitable alternative accommodation is found.
As we enter the rainy season, severe thunderstorms and the risk of flooding is a reality across many parts of the City, and I urge residents to take the necessary precautions, where possible, to avoid being caught up in dangerous situations.
In general, these precautions include the following:
- Stay indoors and off the roads where possible.
- Avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles.
- If trapped in a vehicle during a flood, abandon the vehicle and climb to higher ground.
- In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level. Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building.
- In rural areas, protect or relocate animals to a safe place on higher ground. Abandon your home immediately if evacuation is recommended before access is cut off by flood water.
- Never drive on a road that is completely covered by water and no road surface can be seen. You do not know how deep the water is or if the road has been washed away. If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognise flood dangers.
Listen to the radio or watch television for warnings, and obey the instructions from emergency personnel and disaster management officers.