Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
THE Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has concluded a national flood disaster assessment aimed at finding ways to effectively avoid loss of life and property starting from next year.

The study was necessitated by the changing weather patterns that have seen an increase in deaths and destruction of property mainly due to floods and hailstorms.

In an interview, CPU deputy director, Ms Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, said results of the study were still being analysed and would be made public in due course.

“It’s a very big exercise because what we tried to do is to assess the flood risk throughout the country. The flood risk is at different scales. For example there is one in 50 year flood and one in 100 year flood. We did a very extensive study and we’ve a report on that but what follows are the sort of things that we will work on in 2017. The report can’t be readily accessible because the one I have is quite technical,” said Ms Ndlovu.

She said the department had several challenges due to inadequate funding.

Ms Ndlovu urged the public to always be cautious during the rainy season to avert disaster.

She said the CPU was worried, especially about the death of children as well as property losses which had been reported this year.

“Appropriate and necessary steps must be taken to safeguard life. It is critical to supervise children who must not be allowed to venture into open spaces when a thunderstorm is imminent. Contact or close proximity to metal objects and water must be avoided during a thunderstorm.

“It is imperative to stay low even to crouch with feet together to avoid being the tallest object during a thunderstorm,” she said.

“Families must be on the lookout for flash flooding and must timely seek refuge on higher ground.

“Families must seek refuge in a house with the strongest roof in case of a hailstorm; should the roof be blown off it is advised to seek shelter under a table or bed to avoid injury.”

Ms Ndlovu said motorists should avoid speeding and driving through flooded rivers.

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