Barriers, sandbags arrive in SA before heavy rains

Another state experiencing terrible flooding disasters received support from Italy, with special barriers arriving on Thursday.

Four kilometers of DefenCell flood barriers have been shipped and an additional 400,000 sandbags are expected to land in the coming days.

The additional support is part of a $4.9 million flood mitigation package announced Sunday, on top of the existing $9.1 million commitment to build new levees and rehabilitate existing ones.

SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said the government is doing everything it can to ensure people living in areas at high risk of flooding have the resources they need to get through the next few months.

“These additional DefenCell barriers and the additional sandbags expected in the coming days will help protect infrastructure that is critical to regional communities,” said Mr. Malinauskas.

As of Thursday, the expected flow in the Murray River was likely to be 175 gigalitres per day through early December.

With precipitation expected to increase rapidly in the coming weeks, this flow is likely to increase to at least 185 gigalitres per day, with the potential to reach a damaging 220 per day.

The South African state government is urging riverine communities to consider the high runoff and coming rains as a factor in the closure of roads and ferries, power supplies and other restricted services in the area.

On Tuesday, the government announced a $451.6 million financial assistance package for flood-affected communities, with one-off personal hardship emergency grants of up to $400 for individuals or $1,000 per family.

“We acted quickly to set up disaster funding for those already dealing with the additional water flowing down the river, as well as those who may be impacted in the coming weeks,” Mr Malinauskas said.

The state’s Police Commissioner, Grant Stevens, has also declared the disaster a Major Emergency under the Emergency Management Act, with former Police Chief Inspector Alex Zimmermann appointed as the recovery coordinator.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs said authorities did not want to alarm people unnecessarily but residents should be alert to the risks as they arise.

‚ÄúPeople should prepare themselves and their properties as best they can in the time we have left. It’s important that people remain vigilant and take advice from the authorities,” Szakacs said.

“I encourage people to use the SES hotline and other government websites to keep up to date with the latest information, and to call Triple-0 if they are in an emergency situation.”

Originally posted as barriers, sandbags arrive before heavy rains

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