13 November 2012

South Africa: Workshop to Prepare Mpumalanga Communities for Floods

Malalane — A four-day workshop starts in Mpumalanga's flood prone Nkomazi area on Wednesday to show residents how to protect themselves against floods.

The Risk Education awareness workshop in Driekoppies near Malalane will train traditional leaders, community development workers, councillors and school representatives how to respond during floods.

"The campaign is aimed mainly at educating communities about ways to minimise the negative impact of floods," said Themba Khoza, spokesman for the regional office of the Department of Water Affairs.

He said while rainstorms and floods are natural occurrences that cannot be completely controlled, something can be done to minimise their impact.

For two years in a row, the Nkomazi area was devastated by rain storms and flooding, resulting in loss of human life, destruction of property and infrastructure and the disruption of services.

"The cost of emergency response, rescue, recovery and reconstruction from the destruction was estimated to be in hundreds of millions of Rands," Khoza added.

The workshop, which runs until Saturday, is an initiative of the department in partnership with the Ehlanzeni Disaster Management Centre.

Khoza said the training and discussion sessions will be facilitated by representatives of various emergency response, rescue and recovery teams, including from the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, the Ehlanzeni district municipality and the Nkomazi local municipality.

"The Ehlanzeni district municipality has been severely affected by floods over the past few years, with the Nkomazi local municipality seemingly suffering the most damage," Khoza said.

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