July 11, 2024

Inclement weather wrecks havoc in some parts of the country

The huts of the Gazi family which were engulfed by veld fires that began on Sunday

Extreme weather conditions have left a trail of destruction in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal since the beginning of the month. In the Western Cape, schools have been closed while thousands have been displaced due to flooding. In KZN. Veld fires left one dead and hundreds homeless.




As strong winds and persistant rain continue in Cape Town, the winelands, and the west coast, 15 000 people have been left homeless, roads are closed, power has been disrupted, and over 130 schools have been closed. WC Education MEC David Maynier said over 130 schools in the province have been temporarily closed due to the ongoing rain. "In the interests of learner and teacher safety, after extensive consultation with the provincial disaster risk management centre and South African Weather Service(SAWS), a decision has been taken to close schools in certain districts in the Western Cape," Maynier said. "All schools are expected to open on Friday. We will, however, evaluate the weather prediction for the end of the week to determine whether any individual school closures are necessary on Friday," he said. SAWS also issued a level 8 warning for disruptive rain today across the City of Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Overberg and west coast districts in the Western Cape.




In KwaZulu Natal, disaster management teams have been battling veld fires since Sunday. The runaway fires have left more than 100 families homeless and one person dead. The most hit municipalities are Umthonjaneni, Umlalazi and Nkandla in the north of KZN. Local traditional leader Chief Mhlabunzima Maphumulo confirmed that the veld fires have claimed the life of Muntukabongwa Gazu (67) from Umlalazi outside Eshowe, where the family lost five mud houses. "Based on the report presented by the roving team, which is assigned to visit and profile families, Gazu sustained severe burn injuries after the family's five mud houses were reduced to ashes by runaway fires in Ezinyosini Village under Umlalazi Municipality," Maphumulo said, adding that another family member, Japhet Gazu, is currently recovering in the hospital after sustaining burn wounds.


Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC in the province Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi urged residents in the northern parts of the province to be on high alert following the veld fire warning issued by SAWS, which has warned of extremely high fire danger conditions in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal today. "According to the warning, windy conditions with gusts exceeding 65 km/h, coupled with dry and warm to hot weather, are forecasted for the northern parts of KZN. The Fire Danger Index (FDI) is expected to exceed 75 in these regions, creating conditions highly favourable for the development and rapid spread of fires,' Buthelezi said.

Residents are urged to take the following precautions"

  • Do not start fires in open areas or leave fires unattended.
  • Do not discard cigarette butts out of cars or into open veld.
  • Do not throw bottles into the veld, as they can magnify the sun's rays and start fires.
  • Prepare and maintain fire breaks in a controlled manner.
  • In the event of a large fire, report it immediately and move away to allow professionals to manage the situation.
  • If water is scarce, use sand to control the fire.

Buthelezi will conduct a visit to affected areas in the Mlalazi and Nkandla local municipalities this morning.

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