South Africa News

WC Disaster Management teams on standby as Cyclone Freddy draws closer

The Western Cape Government said teams from its disaster management centre would be on standby as tropical storm Cyclone Freddy is expected to affect parts of South Africa.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall which could lead to flooding in the north-eastern parts of South Africa this weekend.

Areas expected to be affected by the storm are parts of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

Cyclone Freddy has claimed four lives in Madagascar.

“Mozambique, Zimbabwe and parts of South Africa are bracing for Tropical Cyclone Freddy. It is expected to make landfall in the vicinity of Beira on the Mozambique coastline this weekend,” said Anton Bredell, the Western Cape MEC for local government, environmental affairs and development planning.

“Current predictions are for extreme downpours and damaging winds in Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe.

“In South Africa, the Lowveld and escarpment areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga could potentially be at risk, especially considering the recent heavy rains and flooding these regions have already been subjected to.

“As a precautionary response measure, The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre has been requested by the National Disaster Management Centre to lead a combined South African team to support rescue efforts in severely affected areas.”

The head of the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre, Colin Deiner will lead the combined effort to ensure various rescue teams are co-ordinated and on standby for deployment.

“A team of 40 rescue workers are currently ready to deploy at short notice. The team is represented by the Western Cape and Gauteng Disaster Management Centres, Gift of the Givers Rescue Team, Rescue South Africa, Sarza Rough Terrain Specialists and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI),” Deiner said.

“The team will be supported by approximately 20 off-road rescue vehicles and several rescue boats.

“They will also be equipped with water and rope rescue equipment, heavy lifting and cutting equipment, mobile command posts and technical search equipment.

“The team will be self-sufficient and will be equipped to deal with water rescue operations as well as search and rescue of missing persons.”

Bredell said the Western Cape Government was always willing to help as Mother Nature did not recognise nations or provincial boundaries.

“We are honoured that Colin and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre has been given the responsibility to lead this effort. We wish him and the team all the best.

“We know they will make a difference if a disaster situation develops. We also keep the team in our prayers, may they all return safely to their families and loved ones when their work is done,” Bredell said.

-IOL

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