The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Sunday called for community education about the dangers of floodwater conditions.
Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu conveyed condolences to the families of a 26-year-old woman and a fire and rescue officer who were swept away by floodwater at a bridge at Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga as the officer tried to rescue her from a trapped minibus taxi on Saturday.
We appeal to road users to observe safe following distances, drive with caution as they approach small bridges, and other flooding areas to avoid flooding as the South African Weather Bureau predicts more rain for the next three months. With more rain, incidents of drowning may also increase, Mahlangu said.
Motorists driving in flooded areas should be aware that when the side of the body of a vehicle made contact with water the force increased rapidly while the water also acted on the underside of the vehicle and could sweep away the vehicle.
However, Sanco welcomed the rain as it was crucial for breaking the longest and most devastating drought experienced in South Africa in more than 100 years.
The rains are important, especially in ensuring food security for the poor, but with it come the dangers of flooding, especially in rural areas, he said.
The lack of adequate infrastructure, including water drainage systems in rural villages, and proper roads and bridges posed a threat to rural road users.
Lack of sufficient knowledge on how to mitigate flood disaster in South Africa, especially among the disadvantaged communities, could spell a huge disaster to road users, learners crossing rivulets, and kids swimming in water ponds and flowing rivers, owing to lack of knowledge of flooding and its dangers.
Educating communities and continuous communication by authorities was crucial in keeping people out of danger, Mahlangu said.
Source: SABC News