Disaster management’s comment on mini-tornado

Residents say at least nine homes were damaged in a mini-tornado that recently occurred in Ext. 7.

Residents say at least nine homes were damaged in a mini-tornado that recently occurred in Ext. 7.

According to Willie Maphosa, municipal spokesperson, the National Disaster Management Policy Framework of 2005 defines a disaster as a progressive or sudden, widespread or localised, natural or human-caused occurrence. It causes or threatens to cause injury or disease, damages property, infrastructure or the environment. It disrupts the life of a community and is of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected to cope with its effects, using only their resources.

Many were left devastated and fearful that it would happen again. Besides a young boy who sustained a minor cut on his hand, no one was injured.
After the occurrence, the municipal disaster management centre responded to the incident and conducted an incident assessment. Based on this, it was only aware of four shacks that were affected.


Tips for the erection of shacks :
• When erecting shacks, homeowners must ensure that the poles are planted at least 30 cm deep.
• Poles should secure all corrugated iron sheets.
• All windows and doors must be closed in windy conditions.

According Thabo Khupari, unit manager at the disaster management centre, their records only show that four shacks were affected during the mini-tornado. And illustrate that the structures were poorly erected. He continues to say that the corrugated iron sheets were supposed to have been secured to poles and some of the poles were not planted deeply enough.

He further claims that out of the four shacks that disaster management assessed, only one contained furniture that was damaged.

“The owner was referred to SASSA for an assessment and application for a social relief of distress grant,” he said.

He reminded the public that emergency relief is only to replace basic necessities and not items like televisions, refrigerators and furniture. He says the owner is responsible to replace these items themselves.

Khupari continues saying that, of the other three shacks that were damaged, one only had a bed inside and no one was permanently residing there. He claimed the other two shacks were completely unoccupied.

Safety tips for severe wind conditions :
1. Go indoors, stay away from windows and move to the lowest interior room.
2. If you are outside during strong winds, find the nearest safest shelter possible.
3. If you are driving when the winds occur, reduce your speed.
4. If you see downed power lines, call your local electrical facility or report it to a local police station. If a power line falls next to your household, stay inside; it could electrify puddles or the moisture on the ground.

“Property is replaceable, but there’s only one you. When there’s no time to batten down the hatches, the most important thing is to make sure you and your family are safe until the winds die down,” says Khupari.

For emergencies concerning disasters, contact the local disaster management centre on 018 293 1111/1122 (24/7).

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