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Informal settlements residents encouraged to help reduce flooding impact<p>​</p><p>The extreme increase in mostly large-scale, organised unlawful land occupations, often with the involvement of so-called ‘shack-farming’ syndicates since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown period in March 2020, and while the national crisis regulations remain in effect, have led to the establishment of new settlements on flood-prone land in many parts of the metro such as in Dunoon, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein and Mfuleni.</p><p><strong>More than 70% of all recent occupations have happened on land that is not suitable for human settlements. The City expects there to be increased flooding incidents here this winter.</strong></p><p><strong>The City has received requests for milling/dry sand to raise floor levels to prevent flooding in these waterlogged areas. The City is however unable to provide this material in most of the new settlements created in wet areas as it won’t help to reduce the flooding and may even increase the risk of flooding, as water channelling could be changed. This would simply displace water to the dwellings of other residents. Unfortunately, we can only help on land that was planned for housing purposes and not prone to flooding, and in areas that aren’t situated on land meant to catch water, such as dams and ponds. The City may also legally not provide this assistance in some instances. We continue to look at all options to see how assistance can be provided. But do-it-yourself proactive measures will help to reduce the impact</strong>. </p><p>A number of City departments, including Informal Settlements Management, Roads and Stormwater and Disaster Risk Management, do their utmost to help residents by constructing canals to lead flood water away from affected areas where possible and monitoring high risk priority areas on a daily basis to determine flooding risks, while giving advice to residents on how to reduce risks.</p><p>‘From what we can see, this winter is particularly difficult for the City and our residents due to increased informality brought on by the recent scourge of unlawful occupations. As with most cities in South Africa, informality is a pronounced feature due to increased urbanisation, which has been made worse by the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 and the lockdown. The huge demand for accommodation brings about a number of specific challenges, such as unplanned settlements that are located on land, which is not suitable for human habitation. </p><p>‘Unplanned settlements make it difficult to deliver basic and emergency services in times of fire and floods. Often the settlements are formed on private land or land where services cannot or may not be delivered. The City does what it can to deliver housing opportunities, upgrade informal settlements and prepare for flooding and other natural disasters, and partnerships are key. Work continues but we ask our residents to help and to implement some no and low cost tips to reduce the risk of flooding. Raising the floor level of structures, making a DIY sandbag and digging furrows around dwellings are simple ideas which residents can implement,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi.</p><p><strong>Help to reduce flood risk:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">Clear out drainage systems</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Raise the floor level of a structure so that it is higher than the natural ground level</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Make sandbags </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Dig trenches around the house to divert water away from the house </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Report blocked drains, intakes and illegal dumping – illegal dumping in the stormwater canals and sewers make flooding worse </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Waterproof roofs, clear gutters and remove dead tree branches</div></li></ul><p><strong>How to make a sandbag</strong>:  </p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">Cut off the arms of a long-sleeved top and tie the bottom end to close it</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Fill up with sand. If you don’t have enough sand, use a mixture of sand and soil</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Close the top end and place the sandbag outside and inside the door or doorway</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">If you do not have a long-sleeved top, you can use old pillow cases or the legs of long pants filled and tied on either of the open ends or black bags</div></li></ul><p><strong>The risk of fires during winter especially is also huge. Never leave an open flame unattended. </strong></p><p>Emergencies can be reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialing 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2021-06-17T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#a40ad539-1abd-4549-af11-63cf388da83c;L0|#0a40ad539-1abd-4549-af11-63cf388da83c|flooding;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#a83e4cc6-6869-4ccb-a6ef-366f36e76fb8;L0|#0a83e4cc6-6869-4ccb-a6ef-366f36e76fb8|Informal settlement;GP0|#fe65dbbc-d69c-4a2b-bef0-3ece0313903f;L0|#0fe65dbbc-d69c-4a2b-bef0-3ece0313903f|weather caution10

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