The National Disaster Management Advisory Forum (NDMAF), which is the second highest national structure dealing with disaster matters in the country, met for the last meeting of 2017 in Centurion on Thursday, 7 December.
Seasonal Climate Watch
The Forum was updated on the status of the persistent drought in the Western Cape which is further perpetuated by consistently hotter than normal conditions – highly likely to continue through the entire summer season. A consequence of this would be enhanced rates of evaporation over large water surfaces.
Presenting on behalf of the South African Weather Service, Elizabeth Webster stated that El Nino / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) outlook favoured a continuation of a weak La Nina through the summer season. “During these conditions, above normal rain can occur over the summer rainfall areas which could lead to some incidents of flooding," she said.
Webster emphasised the importance of consistent monitoring of on-going climatic developments that might provide more clarity on the current expectations for the coming seasons.
Seasonal Risk Profile
The National Disaster Management (NDMC), through it's Early Warning and Capability Management Services (EWCMS), publishes a periodical Seasonal Hazard Risk Profile which provides dynamic information on short-term weather related hazard development nationally.
The profile is released at the beginning of each three month cycle (season) in the year, assists provincial; municipal disaster management centres; and other stakeholders to stay ahead in planning disaster risk mitigation measures proactively.
The latest Seasonal Hazard Risk Profile indicates that above normal maximum temperatures forecasted for the Western Cape – combined with medium to high wind hazard ratings – were likely to contribute to an elevation of fire hazard conditions.
The likelihood of above-normal rainfall is observed over large areas of the country for the December/January/February period. This is likely to contribute to aggravated conditions conducive to flooding with northern coastal KZN, Eastern Cape & Mpumalanga mostly at risk.
On drought hazards, the Forum was updated on the status of severe to extreme drought conditions currently persisting in most of the winter rainfall region.
It was also noted that over the eastern parts of the country, severe to extreme drought conditions were likely to improve from long to short time scales, whilst severe drought conditions are visible at the short-time scale over the southern interior.
Presenting on the Listeriosis outbreak, national Department of Health's Tsakani Furumele has advised members of the public to exercise precaution when storing, preparing or consuming food. She emphasised that the food-borne disease which has claimed a number of lives since it's recent outbreak, was not communicable via bodily fluids or contact but rather via food such as raw vegetables; frozen products; unpasteurised milk; and many others.
- More information on the symptoms, prevention and treatment against Listeriosis is available on the National Institute for Communicable Diseases' (NIDC) website: nicd.ac.za
- Public can also contact: The NCID emergency operations centre during office hours: (011) 386 2000.
- Health workers can use the hotline for Clinical Emergencies after hours: (082 883 9920)
National Disaster Management Indaba 2018
Dr Mmaphaka Tau, the head of the NDMC announced that the much-anticipated Disaster Management Indaba would take place in 2018 at a date that would be communicated during next year's first Forum meeting or earlier.
The Forum will meet again on Thursday, 8 March 2018.
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