Bulawayo City Council guidelines on floods

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The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has released some precautional measures residents can follow in the event they encounter floods.

“Floods are a common hazard not only in Bulawayo but in Zimbabwe as a whole, adversely affecting local vulnerable communities and neighbourhoods, especially low-lying flood-prone/risk areas,” said BCC. 

“As preparedness measure, the Fire and Ambulance services conducted flood awareness campaigns primarily to low lying, downstream risk areas.” 

Here are some of the protective measures’ residents are advised to adopt: 

Before Flooding 

-Avoid building in a flood plain unless you elevate and reinforce your home. 

-Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding  

-Install ‘check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home 

-Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building 

-Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage. 

During a flood 

If a flood occurs in your area, you should: 

-Listen to the radio or television for information. 

-Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move. 

-Be aware of streams, drainage channels, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain. 

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following: 

-Secure your home. If you have time, move essential items to the upper floor. 

-Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water 

-Never attempt to cross flooded streams and rivers. 

After a flood 

-Listen to news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink 

-Avoid floodwaters as they may be contaminated by oil, petrol, raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from the underground or downed power line. 

-Avoid moving water. 

-Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weekend and collapsed under the weight of a car. 

-Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe to do so. 

-Use extreme caution when entering buildings as there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations. 

-Service damaged septic tanks, pits, etc as soon as possible 

Opening of weep holes. 

-Where boundary walls/fences (e.g Dura walls, block wall, masonry wall etc) are constructed, a provision has to be made for natural drainage of stormwater according to section 78(2) of the Water Act (Chapter 20:24) 

-Residents must open weep holes as per section 46 (2) of the Roads Act Chapter 13:18. 

Failure to comply with this order shall result in Bulawayo City Council taking legal action. 

In the event of flooding: Call the Fire and Ambulance Services immediately on: 

02922 71717-9 or 993/994 Toll-free lines from landlines  

Or the Customer Contact Centre of the following numbers: 

08084700 (Econet only) 

08084700 (Telone only) 

02922 71290 (All networks) 

WhatsApp: + 263 774 668 432

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