Together we can reduce winter flooding impact

The City of Cape Town is doing what it can to reduce the impact of flooding following recent heavy rains and encourages residents living in informal settlements to also help. In various areas across the metro, the City is unable to assist due to the residents settling in a floodplain, dam, road reserve, water retention pond, wetland or other waterlogged areas, as well as on privately owned land. The City performs various services to reduce the risk of flooding where it can, but those in areas situated on waterlogged land are especially vulnerable.

The City expects flooding incidents this winter to impact the newly formed informal settlements which were created through the many organised unlawful occupations on flood-prone areas such as in Dunoon, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein and Mfuleni since the start of the national Covid-19 lockdown periods in 2020. The vast majority of the occupations happened on land that is not suitable for human settlements. The City can do little to assist those who are unlawfully occupying low-lying and flood-prone areas.

A number of City departments, including Informal Settlements Management, Roads and Stormwater and Disaster Risk Management, do their utmost to help residents by constructing canals to lead flood water away from affected areas where possible and monitoring high risk priority areas on a daily basis to determine flooding risks, while giving advice to residents on how to reduce risks. Unfortunately, we can only help on land that was planned for housing purposes and not prone to flooding, and in areas that aren’t situated on land meant to catch water, such as dams and ponds. We continue to look at all options to see how assistance can be provided. Do-it-yourself proactive measures will also help to reduce the impact.

‘The high densities without planned and dedicated emergency access ways make it difficult to deliver basic and emergency services in particularly times of fire and floods. Often the settlements are formed on private land or land where services cannot or may not be delivered. The City does what it can to deliver housing opportunities, upgrade informal settlements and prepare for flooding and other natural disasters, and partnerships are key.

‘We continue to work to reduce the impact of flooding 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 which residents can easily implement at no or little cost,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi.

Help to reduce flood risk:

• Clear out drainage systems

• Raise the floor level of a structure so that it is higher than the natural ground level

• Raise furniture on bricks to clear from the floor to limit water damage

• 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

There is a huge risk of fires during winter as has been seen across the metro recently. Never leave an open flame unattended.

Emergencies can be reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

Source: City Of Cape Town