Category: Disaster Management

GRDM Disaster Management and Municipal Health officials celebrated Mandela Day on 19 July

Officials from the GRDM Disaster Management Section on George, on 19 July 2019, visited the Heuwel Day Care facility and Reȅnboog Creche in Calitzdorp respectively. On their arrival at each facility, the team extended a word of gratitude to the caretakers for allowing them the visit to the crèche.

They also shared a word of motivation to all the toddlers, to look well after themselves and work very hard in life to be able to reach their dreams. After the formal part of the visit, the team treated the toddlers with warm soup and bread and donated nappies to the crèche.

George Municipal Health officials reach out to Lancewood Primary School learners

The Environmental health Practitioners from the George office (Wilderness region) celebrated Mandela Day on 19 July 2019 at Lancewood Primary School. Lancewood Primary school is one of our local rural schools in George, and has a total number of 66 children.

Prior to the visit on the 19th, the team conducted a needs assessment to determine the needs of the learners.  During their visit on the 19th the team surprised the school and learners with: netball balls, soccer balls, a rugby ball, made and galvanized netball poles; sanitary towels; assorted color chalks and chalk board dusters; covered and painted cable drums to recycle as dining tables and two (2) outside dining tables that were made from recycled materials.

During the visit the Breede Gouritz Catchment Agency donated puzzles, board games, recyclable water bottles and lunch boxes to the learners and Mortgage Max Sonet Calitz handed out food parcels and stationary.

The event was organised in collaboration with the GRDM Maintenance Team, Mortgage Max Sonet Calitz, as well as the Breede Gouritz Catchment Management Agency and it was indeed a great success.

Severe Weather Alert – High Seas

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued the following high sea alert:

HAZARD: High Seas – Wave heights between 6.0m to 7.0m
ALERT LEVEL: Warning
VALID FROM (SAST): 19/07/19 00h00 (tomorrow) 
VALID TO (SAST): 19/07/19 23h00 (tomorrow)
AREA: Between Cape Agulhas and Plettenberg Bay

DESCRIPTION: Storm surges / High Seas

Generally heavy seas or damaging waves are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Long period swells are often very dangerous to tankers as they may literally snap them in half. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storm surges and tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.
In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change.

PRECAUTIONS: Storm surges / High Seas

Ships should “idle” into the swell and wind so that the bow of the ship always faces the oncoming swell. If in a small sailing vessel reduce the sail area and steer into the oncoming swell. If along the shore-line stay well back from the highest high water mark as Secure all hatches, doors, windows and ports. Secure all loose items in the interior.
Pump the bilge’s dry and keep pumping them dry at regular intervals. Stow away all loose gear and lash down any large items that cannot be stowed. Break out your life preservers and inform your crew that everyone will be putting them on well in advance of their necessity.
Break out emergency gear like flares and first aid kit, sea anchor, safety harnesses, etc.
Check your position and update your course as plotted on your chart. Prepare alternative routes to more protected areas. If you think you will be in for relatively long haul prepare some hot soup, coffee or stew freak waves may run up beyond the normal high water mark.
If the sea recedes exposing rock and sea bed normally not exposed immediately seek higher ground at least 50m above your current position. Do not try swimming or fishing or other marine recreation during these events. Only extremely experienced surfers will temp their fate under these conditions.
Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Report any related incidents to the Garden Route DM Disaster Management Centre at Tel: 044-805 5071.

Garden Route District Municipality’s Nina Viljoen now “Dr Nina Viljoen”

Nina Viljoen, Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation Practitioner at the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), was on 12 July 2019, conferred a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) qualification at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences.

Talking passionately to the Communication and Graphic Design Unit of GRDM regarding the progress of her education over the years, she said: “I progressed from having a Grade 7 (previous standard 5) school qualification at the age of 19, to achieving my Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), with specialisation in Water Resources Management”.

Her thesis is titled: “Participative water demand management as an adaptive response within complex socio-institutional systems: A City of Cape Town case study, South Africa’.  However, she admitted that it could not have been done without will power, commitment and true dedication.

Referring back to her Master of Science (MSc) Degree, she explained: “I also focused on water resources management, more specifically alternative water resources, with my dissertation entitled: “The feasibility of rainwater and stormwater harvesting within a winter rainfall climate context: A Commercial Building Focus,” for which I received a Cum Laude recognition”.

Touching on how she persevered with so much at hand, she said:  “At times I had to isolate myself from family issues and had to work over weekends and on public holidays on my thesis. I also participated in Garden Route Environmental Management related initiatives, and attended forums and workshops that took my mind off the strict routine of the PhD studies”, she added. At times when she felt despondent and felt like giving up, these initiatives helped her to get re-energised and motivated again.

Sharing briefly about her childhood years, she said she grew up in a single-parent household.  “I attended 14 primary schools as my family was mostly homeless and moved around a lot. Sadly, due to the psychological and physical impacts of these hardships we faced, I lost my only sibling to suicide”.

Dr Viljoen is adamant that education saved her life and has given her independence. She would like to be a role model to the youth as an example of the importance of education in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and hardship. With regard to her immediate future plans, she concluded:  “With my expertise and experience gained through my PhD studies, I will continue to help the Garden Route district with water resource planning and drought awareness initiatives”.

Severe Weather Alert

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued the following severe weather alerts:

HAZARD 1: Damaging Winds
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 12h00
Valid To (SAST): 21/06/19 20h00

Warning: Gale force NW’ly winds (60-80km/h, gusts 90-100km/h) are expected in places over the Karoo areas, Breede Valley, Cape Peninsula, Overberg District tomorrow (Friday) reaching strong Gale force along coastal regions between Table Bay and Cape Agulhas in the afternoon, spreading to Plettenberg Bay Saturday morning. Advisory: Strong north-westerly to westerly (40-60km/h)winds are expected over the Western Cape tomorrow (Friday).

HAZARD 2: Veld Fire Conditions
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 12h00
Valid To (SAST): 21/06/19 23h00

Expected in places over the Garden Route, Central Karoo, West Coast District, Breede Valley and eastern Overberg tomorrow (Friday).

HAZARD 3: Storm surges
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 15h00
Valid To (SAST): 22/06/19 00h00

Expected between Saldanha Bay and Cape Agulhas tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, spreading to Plettenberg Bay on Saturday morning.

HAZARD 4: High Seas
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 18h00
Valid To (SAST): 22/06/19 00h00

With wave heights between 6-9m is expected between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas from tomorrow afternoon (Friday), spreading to Plettenberg Bay Saturday morning, subsiding by the afternoon.

DESCRIPTION: Strong damaging winds

Strong damaging winds often occur along coastal regions, but also often occur during thunderstorm activity. These winds are sudden and can cause much damage.

PRECAUTIONS: Strong damaging winds

Stay indoors where possible away from the windows that open towards the severe winds. Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines and flying debris.
Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.
Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

DESCRIPTION: Storm surges

Generally storm surges are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storms and/or tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.

PRECAUTIONS: Storm surges

All recreational beach activities should be suspended. People with beach side properties should be aware of the possibility of being flooded by a rise in sea level and wave surges that could cause damage to their property.
If possible relocate valuable assets to higher ground and be vigilant especially during high tide. If the surge is associated with a Spring High Tide then significant inundation is possible and one should be aware of the times of occurrence of the High tide.
Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

DESCRIPTION: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Whenever there are prolonged periods of little and no rain coupled with warm dry winds, veldt or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spread rapidly in strong winds.

PRECAUTIONS: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Don’t make fires in the open and/or leave fires unattended. Don’t throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the open veldt. Don’t throw bottles in the veldt as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires. Prepare and maintain fire breaks in controlled manner. In the case of a large fire report it immediately and move away from the area to let the professionals deal with it. Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

DESCRIPTION: Storm surges / High Seas

Generally heavy seas or damaging waves are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Long period swells are often very dangerous to tankers as they may literally snap them in half. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storm surges and tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.
In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change.

PRECAUTIONS: Storm surges / High Seas

Ships should “idle” into the swell and wind so that the bow of the ship always faces the oncoming swell. If in a small sailing vessel reduce the sail area and steer into the oncoming swell. If along the shore-line stay well back from the highest high water mark as Secure all hatches, doors, windows and ports. Secure all loose items in the interior.
Pump the bilge’s dry and keep pumping them dry at regular intervals. Stow away all loose gear and lash down any large items that cannot be stowed. Break out your life preservers and inform your crew that everyone will be putting them on well in advance of their necessity.
Break out emergency gear like flares and first aid kit, sea anchor, safety harnesses, etc.
Check your position and update your course as plotted on your chart. Prepare alternative routes to more protected areas. If you think you will be in for relatively long haul prepare some hot soup, coffee or stew freak waves may run up beyond the normal high water mark.
If the sea recedes exposing rock and sea bed normally not exposed immediately seek higher ground at least 50m above your current position. Do not try swimming or fishing or other marine recreation during these events. Only extremely experienced surfers will temp their fate under these conditions.
Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Report any incidents to the Garden Route District Municipality Disaster Management Centre at: 044-805 5071

Severe Weather Alerts

The Cape Town Weather Office, has issued the following severe weather alerts:
 
HAZARD 1: Damaging Winds
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 12h00
Valid To (SAST): 21/06/19 20h00
Warning: Gale force NW’ly winds (60-80km/h, gusts 90-100km/h) are expected in places over the Karoo areas, Breede Valley, Cape Peninsula, Overberg District tomorrow (Friday) reaching strong Gale force along coastal regions between Table Bay and Cape Agulhas in the afternoon, spreading to Plettenberg Bay Saturday morning. Advisory: Strong north-westerly to westerly (40-60km/h)winds are expected over the Western Cape tomorrow (Friday).
 
HAZARD 2: Veld Fire Conditions
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 12h00
Valid To (SAST): 21/06/19 23h00
Expected in places over the Garden Route, Central Karoo, West Coast District, Breede Valley and eastern Overberg tomorrow (Friday).
 
HAZARD 3: Storm surges
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 15h00
Valid To (SAST): 22/06/19 00h00
Expected between Saldanha Bay and Cape Agulhas tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, spreading to Plettenberg Bay on Saturday morning.
 
HAZARD 4: High Seas
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 21/06/19 18h00
Valid To (SAST): 22/06/19 00h00
With wave heights between 6-9m is expected between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas from tomorrow afternoon (Friday), spreading to Plettenberg Bay Saturday morning, subsiding by the afternoon.
 
DESCRIPTION: Strong damaging winds
 
Strong damaging winds often occur along coastal regions, but also often occur during thunderstorm activity. These winds are sudden and can cause much damage.
 
PRECAUTIONS: Strong damaging winds
 
Stay indoors where possible away from the windows that open towards the severe winds. Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines and flying debris.
Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.
Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.
 
DESCRIPTION: Storm surges
 
Generally storm surges are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storms and/or tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.
 
PRECAUTIONS: Storm surges
 
All recreational beach activities should be suspended. People with beach side properties should be aware of the possibility of being flooded by a rise in sea level and wave surges that could cause damage to their property.
If possible relocate valuable assets to higher ground and be vigilant especially during high tide. If the surge is associated with a Spring High Tide then significant inundation is possible and one should be aware of the times of occurrence of the High tide.
Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.
 
DESCRIPTION: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions
 
Whenever there are prolonged periods of little and no rain coupled with warm dry winds, veldt or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spread rapidly in strong winds.
 
PRECAUTIONS: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions
 
Don’t make fires in the open and/or leave fires unattended. Don’t throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the open veldt. Don’t throw bottles in the veldt as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires. Prepare and maintain fire breaks in controlled manner. In the case of a large fire report it immediately and move away from the area to let the professionals deal with it. Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.
 
DESCRIPTION: Storm surges / High Seas
 
Generally heavy seas or damaging waves are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Long period swells are often very dangerous to tankers as they may literally snap them in half. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storm surges and tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.
In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change.
 
PRECAUTIONS: Storm surges / High Seas
 
Ships should “idle” into the swell and wind so that the bow of the ship always faces the oncoming swell. If in a small sailing vessel reduce the sail area and steer into the oncoming swell. If along the shore-line stay well back from the highest high water mark as Secure all hatches, doors, windows and ports. Secure all loose items in the interior.
Pump the bilge’s dry and keep pumping them dry at regular intervals. Stow away all loose gear and lash down any large items that cannot be stowed. Break out your life preservers and inform your crew that everyone will be putting them on well in advance of their necessity.
Break out emergency gear like flares and first aid kit, sea anchor, safety harnesses, etc.
Check your position and update your course as plotted on your chart. Prepare alternative routes to more protected areas. If you think you will be in for relatively long haul prepare some hot soup, coffee or stew freak waves may run up beyond the normal high water mark.
If the sea recedes exposing rock and sea bed normally not exposed immediately seek higher ground at least 50m above your current position. Do not try swimming or fishing or other marine recreation during these events. Only extremely experienced surfers will temp their fate under these conditions.
Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.
 
Report any incidents to the Garden Route District Municipality Disaster Management Centre at: 044-805 5071
 
#GardenRoute #GardenRouteDM #SevereWeatherAlert #WeatherSA

Severe Weather Alert

The following severe weather alerts have been issued by the Cape Town Weather office:

Hazard 1 Alert Level Valid From (SAST) Valid To (SAST)
High Seas Watch 21/06/19 00h00 22/06/19 00h00

Wave heights between 6-7.5m are expected between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas from Friday evening, spreading to Plettenberg Bay Saturday morning, subsiding by the afternoon.

Description: Storm surges / High Seas

Generally heavy seas or damaging waves are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Long period swells are often very dangerous to tankers as they may literally snap them in half. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storm surges and tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.

In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change.

Precautions: Storm surges / High Seas

Ships should “idle” into the swell and wind so that the bow of the ship always faces the oncoming swell. If in a small sailing vessel reduce the sail area and steer into the oncoming swell. If along the shore-line stay well back from the highest high water mark as Secure all hatches, doors, windows and ports. Secure all loose items in the interior.
Pump the bilge’s dry and keep pumping them dry at regular intervals. Stow away all loose gear and lash down any large items that cannot be stowed. Break out your life preservers and inform your crew that everyone will be putting them on well in advance of their necessity.  Break out emergency gear like flares and first aid kit, sea anchor, safety harnesses, etc.
Check your position and update your course as plotted on your chart. Prepare alternative routes to more protected areas. If you think you will be in for relatively long haul prepare some hot soup, coffee or stew freak waves may run up beyond the normal high water mark.

If the sea recedes exposing rock and sea bed normally not exposed immediately seek higher ground at least 50m above your current position. Do not try swimming or fishing or other marine recreation during these events. Only extremely experienced surfers will temp their fate under these conditions.

Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Hazard 2 Alert Level Valid From (SAST) Valid To (SAST)
Damaging Winds Watch 21/06/19 00h00 21/06/19 00h00

Watch: Gale force north-westerly winds (60-75km/h, gusting 80-100km/h) are expected in places over the Central Karoo, Breede Valley, Cape Peninsula, and coastal regions between Table Bay and Plettenberg Bay (Western Cape) on Friday(21/06/2019). Advisory: Strong north-westerly to westerly (40-60km/h)winds are expected over the southern West Coast District, Cape Winelands, Overberg and Garden Route Districts (Western Cape) on Friday.

Description: Strong damaging winds
Strong damaging winds often occur along coastal regions, but also often occur during thunderstorm activity. These winds are sudden and can cause much damage.

Precautions:  Strong damaging winds
Stay indoors where possible away from the windows that open towards the severe winds. Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines and flying debris.
Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.
Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

To report any incidents, contact the GRDM Disaster Management Centre at tel: 044 805 5071

Severe Weather Alert

A Severe Weather Alert was issued by the Cape Town Weather Office as follows:

Hazard:High Seas

Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 05/06/19 – 01h00
Valid To (SAST): 06/06/19 – 08h00

Wave heights of 6m are expected in places between Cape Agulhas and Plettenberg Bay today (Wednesday), subsiding tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

Description: Strong damaging winds
Strong damaging winds often occur along coastal regions, but also often occur during thunderstorm activity. These winds are sudden and can cause much damage.

Precautions:  Strong damaging winds
Stay indoors where possible away from the windows that open towards the severe winds. Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines and flying debris.  Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.  Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured.  Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Description: Flooding / Heavy Rain

Flooding occurs when water overflows its normal channels such as streams and storm water drains. It can occur with prolonged period of rain, with continuous heavy falls or in the form of flash floods which are usually associated with severe thunderstorms. Heavy rain may also result in river flooding causing damage downstream to areas that may receive no rainfall at all during the flooding event.

Precautions: Flooding / Heavy Rain

If possible stay indoors and off the roads, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles. If trapped in flooding in a vehicle, abandon it 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/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 covered by water. You do not know how deep it 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’s harder to recognize flood dangers. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Description: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Whenever there are prolonged periods of little and no rain coupled with warm dry winds, veldt or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spread rapidly in strong winds.

Precautions: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Don’t make fires in the open and/or leave fires unattended. Don’t throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the open veldt. Don’t throw bottles in the veldt as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires. Prepare and maintain fire breaks in controlled manner. In the case of a large fire report it immediately and move away from the area to let the professionals deal with it. Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Description: Storm surges / High Seas

Generally heavy seas or damaging waves are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Long period swells are often very dangerous to tankers as they may literally snap them in half. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storm surges and tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.

In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change.

Precautions: Storm surges / High Seas

Ships should “idle” into the swell and wind so that the bow of the ship always faces the oncoming swell. If in a small sailing vessel reduce the sail area and steer into the oncoming swell. If along the shore-line stay well back from the highest high water mark as Secure all hatches, doors, windows and ports. Secure all loose items in the interior.

Pump the bilge’s dry and keep pumping them dry at regular intervals. Stow away all loose gear and lash down any large items that cannot be stowed. Break out your life preservers and inform your crew that everyone will be putting them on well in advance of their necessity.
Break out emergency gear like flares and first aid kit, sea anchor, safety harnesses, etc.
Check your position and update your course as plotted on your chart. Prepare alternative routes to more protected areas. If you think you will be in for relatively long haul prepare some hot soup, coffee or stew freak waves may run up beyond the normal high water mark.

If the sea recedes exposing rock and sea bed normally not exposed immediately seek higher ground at least 50m above your current position. Do not try swimming or fishing or other marine recreation during these events. Only extremely experienced surfers will temp their fate under these conditions.

Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Report any incidents to the Garden Route DM Disaster Management Centre at: 044-805 5071.

GRDM is taking proactive steps to deal with climate change

“As the Garden Route commemorates the June 2017 wildfire disaster and prepares to host a Climate Change Indaba, climate change related disasters are on the increase in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Dr Nina Viljoen, Manager: Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation at the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and a spokesperson for the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

“With thousands affected and the regional population traumatised, the June 2017 Knysna wildfire disaster was perhaps one of the most dramatic and destructive events in living memory to hit Southern Africa in general, and the Garden Route in particular.”

“To compound matters, back in June 2017, the Southern Cape was suffering the consequences of a prolonged and severe drought, with areas in the Klein Karoo completely running out of water with economic activity shrinking and agricultural output dropping dramatically.”

“Much of what the environment was suffering can be ascribed to the effects of climate change, and local government is increasingly shifting its focus and efforts towards finding ways to cope with the effects of climate change, ” says Dr Viljoen.  

“However, with the flooding of KwaZulu-Natal and Beira in northern Mozambique, South Africa is not alone in suffering from climate change”, continues Dr Viljoen. Recently United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has been urging the international community to quickly fund emergency aid appeals for Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, saying they have suffered “one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in the history of Africa.”

Guterres said the devastation has affected three million people, nearly two-thirds of them in Mozambique, and “there are reports that $1 billion worth of infrastructure has been destroyed.” Many areas still have no electricity.

The UN chief called Cyclone Idai an “uncommonly fierce and prolonged storm — yet another alarm bell about the dangers of climate change, especially in vulnerable, at-risk countries.”

He said such events are becoming more frequent and devastating, “and this will only get worse if we do not act now.”

Concludes Dr Viljoen, “In a proactive step to deal with climate change, the Garden Route District Municipality is making good progress in the development of the regional Climate Change and Adaptation Strategy Document, and in due course, we will be making more information available”.

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) will be hosting the Annual Fire  Commemoration event and Climate Change Indaba on 7 June 2019. More information will be made available on the GREF website https://www.scli.org.za/GREF.

WEBSITE: https://www.scli.org.za/GREF/

** The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. The forum aims to coordinate regional conservation efforts, serve as a catalyst to drive climate adaption practices in the Southern Cape and strive to establish a better-coordinated approach to environmental management.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Dr Nina Viljoen: Manager, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and a spokesperson for the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)

Tel/Cell: +27 (0)44 803 1318 | +27 (0)67 035 9203

Email: nina@gardenroute.gov.za

 

Severe Weather Alert

A Severe Weather Alert was issued by the Cape Town Weather Office as follows:

Hazard: Damaging Winds

Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 05/06/19 – 00h00
Valid To (SAST): 05/06/19 – 19h00

Warning: Gale force westerly to south-westerly winds (60-75km/h gusting 80-90km/h) are expected along the coastal regions between Cape Point and Plettenberg Bay tomorrow early morning (Wednesday), subsiding early evening.

Advisory: Strong westerly to north-westerly winds (50-65km/h) are expected over the Central Karoo and the Breede Valley (Western Cape) tomorrow early morning, subsiding by evening.

Description: Strong damaging winds
Strong damaging winds often occur along coastal regions, but also often occur during thunderstorm activity. These winds are sudden and can cause much damage.

Precautions:  Strong damaging winds
Stay indoors where possible away from the windows that open towards the severe winds. Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines and flying debris.
Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.
Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured.  Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Description: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Whenever there are prolonged periods of little and no rain coupled with warm dry winds, veldt or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spread rapidly in strong winds.

Precautions: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Don’t make fires in the open and/or leave fires unattended. Don’t throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the open veldt. Don’t throw bottles in the veldt as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires. Prepare and maintain fire breaks in controlled manner. In the case of a large fire report it immediately and move away from the area to let the professionals deal with it. Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case, sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Description: Storm surges / High Seas

Generally heavy seas or damaging waves are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Long period swells are often very dangerous to tankers as they may literally snap them in half. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storm surges and tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.

In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change.

Precautions: Storm surges / High Seas

Ships should “idle” into the swell and wind so that the bow of the ship always faces the oncoming swell. If in a small sailing vessel reduce the sail area and steer into the oncoming swell. If along the shore-line stay well back from the highest high water mark as Secure all hatches, doors, windows and ports. Secure all loose items in the interior.

Pump the bilge’s dry and keep pumping them dry at regular intervals. Stow away all loose gear and lash down any large items that cannot be stowed. Break out your life preservers and inform your crew that everyone will be putting them on well in advance of their necessity.

Break out emergency gear like flares and first aid kit, sea anchor, safety harnesses, etc.
Check your position and update your course as plotted on your chart. Prepare alternative routes to more protected areas. If you think you will be in for relatively long haul prepare some hot soup, coffee or stew freak waves may run up beyond the normal high water mark.

If the sea recedes exposing rock and sea bed normally not exposed immediately seek higher ground at least 50m above your current position. Do not try swimming or fishing or other marine recreation during these events. Only extremely experienced surfers will temp their fate under these conditions.

Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Report any incidents to the Garden Route DM Disaster Management Centre at: 044-805 5071

Destruction of ecological infrastructure worsens the impact of floods

“Failure of ecological infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal worsens the impact of recent floods, and the Garden Route must learn from the severe disaster,” says Dr Nina Viljoen, Manager, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation at the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and a spokesperson for the Garden Route Environmental Forum.

According to Dr Viljoen, a series of deadly cyclones and high-intensity rainstorms in KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique was such that no matter what, the impact would have resulted in disaster.

“The impact of urban and rural development on the ability of nature in mitigating and managing severe floods and rainstorms, cannot be underestimated. The fact that landowners all over the world want to build their houses as close as possible to rivers and ocean shores exponentially raise the risk of the destruction of their property in the event of flooding and ocean storm surges,” warns Dr Viljoen.

She explains: “Over time we have destroyed our ecological infrastructure enabling nature to cope with heavy rain such as wetlands and seep lines. We have channelled our river systems, and hardened saturation surfaces and water table recharge zones, leaving flood waters to gain unbridled energy and volumes, destroying everything in its path and claiming many lives”.

“Considering the predicated impact of climate change, and an increase in severe weather conditions and possible natural disasters, authorities must be vigilant in planning for expansion, and allowing development in areas that are naturally sensitive and prone to disaster”.

On 7 June this year, the Garden Route District Municipality and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) will be hosting the 2017 Fire Commemoration event and Climate Change and Adaption Indaba in George.

Environmental and climate change experts will review the overarching research and strategy development that has taken place over the past two years regarding environmental risk reduction in the region, and the physical measures that have been implemented. The indaba will also establish a roadmap of what is planned for the region in the coming months to confront the challenges of climate change readiness.

Interested organisations and individuals who would like to attend the Annual Fire Commemoration event and Climate Change and Adaption Indaba on 7 June, can send an email to janet@papertreeprojects.co.za.

WEBSITE: https://www.scli.org.za/GREF/

** The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. The forum aims to coordinate regional conservation efforts, serve as a catalyst to drive climate adaption practices in the Southern Cape and strive to establish a better-coordinated approach to environmental management.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Dr Nina Viljoen: Manager, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and a spokesperson for the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)

Tel/Cell: +27 (0)44 803 1318 | +27 (0)67 035 9203

Email: nina@gardenroute.gov.za