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Cyclone Kenneth cannot be avoided but can be prepared for

25 Apr 2019 at 00:51hrs | Views
Southern Africa has been ravaged by a wave of cyclones at a proportion never experienced before. preparing for a cyclone can start before there is an immediate threat.The aftermath of Cyclone Idai were so traumatic and many people cannot understand what hit them. Never before was nature so cruel to its children,mother nature was not motherly this time.

What are cyclones?
Most cyclones start out as low-pressure systems that occur over warmer tropical oceans, including the oceans surrounding Africa. A low-pressure system draws energy from the warm waters, forming a convection current of gale force winds and moisture that rotate around a calm centre known as the cyclone eye.

A cyclone system travels as it picks up power and while cyclones can start and end over the oceans, unfortunately for us they can also move towards land. Torrential rain and flooding, tidal surges and destructive wind speeds of up to 280 kilometres per hour can cause loss of life, as well as extensive damage to property and communities.

Unlike many weather conditions, meteorologists can identify cyclone formation well in advance as they take shape over oceans before tracking towards our coastlines. This gives valuable time for preparation and public warnings to be issued for what is one of nature's most furious challenges. Most African governments are led by superstitious people who do not take these warnings seriously.
Governments should take these warnings seriously and save lives.
Here are some ways prepare for cyclone.

Prepare your house and property for cyclone
If you are in a cyclone path or nearby area, especially if you have received the warning, You are advised to check with your local council or building authority that your home and other buildings have been constructed according to the Cyclone Rating building codes, or in a way which can withstand the cyclone,and whether your property is located in a storm surge area. If you are in doubt you must move to safer areas.

Depending with the type of the house you must
 - Keep guttering clear of debris and leaves
 - Repair loose tiles or roofing sheets and ensure they are firmly fastened
 - Trim trees and branches close to your home.
 - Fit shutters or metal screens to all external glass areas
 - Secure large items such as garden sheds, scotch carts trailers and rainwater tanks.
    
Remember, even a plastic bucket can be dangerous when travelling at high speed so tie down or bring inside any loose building materials, toys, garden furniture and rubbish bins before a cyclone hits, your area.

It is essential you have a plan and everyone in a household knows what to do on the approach of a cyclone, when to do it, and why.

Join or form whatsapp groups to be kept fully abreast of what might be happening. You can also check current warnings for your area or receive SMS alerts for your area, if there is none create one.

The safest place in your house to shelter depends on the cyclone rating of your property, and is usually a bathroom or internal passageway. After the Idai ravaging the safest place is somewhere away from the cyclone.

Individuals are encouraged to have an emergency plan which should include an emergency kit, which can be put together and stored until needed. Your kit must have among other things
 - Battery-powered, wind-up or solar-powered radio
 - Waterproof torch
 - Spare batteries for all devices
 - First aid kit and guide book
 - Toiletries including soap, hand wash gels, alcohol wipes, toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste and sanitary items
 - Cash and a phone card
 - Woollen blankets
 - Candles with waterproof matches or glow sticks
 - Drinking water, consider having 10 litres per person to last three days
 - Dried and long-life food to last three days, include a can opener and utensils
 - Nappies and supplies for infants
 - A supply of essential medications.
Don't wait until a cyclone warning has been issued to supplement your kit with non perishable food, water or medicines - supermarket shelves can be sold out of stock in a matter of hours when a cyclone is approaching.

Governments must build cyclone emergency shelters which are strong.
These are community buildings that are capable of providing protection from winds of up to 300km per hour.

Get familiar with where the nearest cyclone emergency shelter is to you, in case you have to leave your house.

If you receive advice to relocate to a safe place, before you leave switch off utilities such as power, gas and water and lock the doors.
Cyclones are natural disasters and they are responsibility of the state.
It will be a shame if more people die because of ill preparedness of the authorities. The people are to be protected and to be helped to prepare.

After Kenneth people will need to be assisted to bounce back. Giving them hands out is not permanent. Governments are the protectors of the citizens and they must do more.  
Only God can stop a cyclone all we can do is to prepare for it.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk


Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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