The deadly floods that ravaged parts of KZN over Easter Weekend have officially been declared a provincial disaster. The floods, in which at least 70 people lost their lives, are the latest in a number of similar natural disasters that have wreaked havoc over the country in the past 18 months. In March last year, extensive damage was caused in the Gauteng province after some areas recorded more than a month’s worth of rain in just under 24 hours. Although it is impossible to control the forces of nature, it is becoming increasingly important for home occupants to do whatever they can to protect their properties from the rain. Local rescue services urge the community to carry out routine checks on their homes to try to minimize the damage that occurs during periods of extreme rain.
Check your roof and gutters
The Easter Weekend floods caused damage to the value of nearly R1.1 billion according to Eyewitness News. With South Africa’s often unpredictable weather, it is important residents check their roof, gutters, and downpipes at least every 3 to 4 months and every month before rainy season. All pipes should be free of leaves and other debris, with downpipes aimed away from a home’s foundation to prevent excess water from entering the home during a flood. A leaking roof can cause immense damage to a home’s interior and also result in the growth of mold and mildew that can weaken ceilings and walls. It is therefore very important for residents to inspect their roof tiles or sheeting regularly for any signs of wear and tear ranging from loose and missing shingles to holes and rusted nails and screws.
Seal your windows and doors
Footage that showed a house in Rockview Road, Amanzimtoti collapsing left the nation dumbfounded. Although no precautions on the part of the homeowners could have prevented this tragedy from occurring, there are steps that can be taken to protect against lesser damage. In order to protect the inside of a home against rain damage, residents need to inspect their windows and doors on a regular basis. Check the windows and doors to make sure they both close and seal properly, and take action if any repairs are necessary. For homeowners who are worried water will get into their house from underneath their doors, consider attaching a weatherstrip or, alternatively, use old rolled-up newspaper as a temporary measure once it has started raining.
Cut back any trees and foliage
A large number of homes and vehicles were severely damaged by falling tree branches, and uprooted trees were reported all across the province. Umlazi, South of Durban, was hit especially hard with many residents taking to social media to share photos of the damage to their properties. Even though it is virtually impossible to predict when and where the next heavy rain will fall, it is best to be as well prepared as possible. By cutting back any foliage and trees that hang over a home, residents will not only prevent leaves and branches from clogging their home’s gutters, but they can drastically reduce the risk of the foliage falling during a storm, as well.
Despite the region’s best efforts, it may not always be possible to protect homes and belongings against the wrath of nature. It is, however, very important for homeowners to take the precautionary steps to ensure that their properties are safe at times of heavy rain.