The City of Cape Town says it expects increased flooding incidents this winter, especially affecting the newly formed informal settlements that have been created through unlawful occupations on flood-prone areas since the start of the national Covid-19 lockdown.
A number of City departments, including Informal Settlements Management, Roads and Stormwater and Disaster Risk Management, help residents by constructing canals to lead flood water away from affected areas where possible and monitoring high risk priority areas to determine flooding risks, while giving advice to residents on how to reduce risks, the City said in a press release.
The majority of the unlawful occupations have happened on land that is not suitable for human habitation, such as in flood-prone wetlands, low-lying areas and even in water retention ponds or on the slopes of loose, sandy nature reserve land that will get eroded by wind and rain.
“The Covid-19 crisis also presents its own set of challenges with the risks of virus spread and City staff thin on the ground attending to all types of crises. Work continues but we ask our residents and communities to help and to implement some no cost tips to reduce the risk of flooding. Making a DIY sandbag and digging furrows around dwellings are two simple ideas for residents to implement,” said the City’s Mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi.
To help reduce the flood risk:
· Clear out drainage systems
· Raise the floor level of a structure so that it is higher than the natural ground level
· Make sandbags
· Dig trenches around the house to divert water away from the house
· Report blocked drains, intakes and illegal dumping – illegal dumping in the stormwater canals and sewers make flooding worse
· Waterproof roofs, clear gutters and remove dead tree branches
How to make a sandbag:
· Cut off the arms of a long-sleeved top and tie the bottom end to close it
· Fill up with sand. If you don’t have enough sand, use a mixture of sand and soil
· Close the top end and place the sandbag outside and inside the door or doorway
· If you do not have a long-sleeved top, you can use old pillow cases or the legs of long pants filled and tied on either of the open ends or black bags
The risk of fires during winter especially is also huge. Never leave an open flame unattended.
Emergencies can be reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialing 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.