Dynamic Incident Management Team deployed to Marloth Park flood incident during Tropical Cyclone Eloise
The Dynamic Incident Management Team was deployed to the Marloth Park flood incident during Tropical Cyclone Eloise. Dynamic Incident Management (Pty) Ltd established an incident management team (IMT) to render incident management assistance to landowners, agencies, private sector and governmental sectors during incidents. To deploy the team, a delegation of authority is required from the requesting agency to manage the incident on their behalf. The Incident Management Team managed the incident using an integrated organisational structure, meaning that the requesting agency also provides personnel to fill the incident command structure. Marloth Park provided 90 percent of the tactical resources, as well as some functional positions to fill the Incident Command System Structure during the incident. Dynamic Incident Management received a delegation of authority from Marloth Park to render assistance during Cyclone Eloise that brought substantial rain to the Crocodile River catchment that holds potential for flooding to the Marloth Park area and surroundings. The team deployed on Saturday, 23 January 2021 to Marloth Park and met with the agency representatives and the initial attack Incident commander for an incident in-briefing and transfer of command. An Incident Action Plan for the night operations was compiled within two hours and a small briefing was held the afternoon before the night operational period started. Contact with Mpumalanga Provincial Disaster Management was maintained through the IMT to ensure jurisdictional authorities were kept up-to-date and to enable high priority resource deployment if required to the area.
From 24 January 2021, 12-hour operational periods were maintained and providing incident action plans for every day-operations and night-operations, overall six operational periods. All supervisory personnel attend all operational period briefings. The incident organisation assignment list indicate which positions were filled during the incident.
Challenges were experienced due to no electricity during major rains and storms, which challenged communication efforts but the IMT worked around it and established regular communication and notification methods to all involved including community members.
Major concerns and priorities were:
Tropical Cyclone Eloise crossed Madagascar and travelled into the warmer waters of the Mozambique Channel. Landfall was made in Mozambique (Beira) on Saturday, 23 January 2021. From 24 January 2021 massive flooding and displacements occurred in Mozambique.
The tropical storm entered South African borders on Sunday, 24 January 2021 at about 11h00am. Heavy rains were experienced from the Sunday and caused the dam levels and river flows to start to increase.
Marloth Park borders the Kruger National Park and houses approximately 2 000 people, permanent residents, local visitor’s and international visitors throughout the year. Adjacent to Marloth Park is Makarios Informal Settlement with approximately 2 500 residents.
The Crocodile River forms the western and the eastern boundaries of Marloth Park and is prone to flooding. The last flood 2013 and flooded Marloth Park areas that were below the 50-year flood line.
The Crocodile River’s, which runs around Marloth Park, level increased but due to low dam levels, no immediate flood threat were imminent to the Marloth Park community and visitors.
The gravel road infrastructure leading to the river was seriously damaged and some ‘no go’ zones were established. Part of the electrical fence was washed away, allowing wild animals to enter from the Kruger National Park and walking curfews were introduced to the park from 18h00 to 06h00, this also assisted with people wondering close to the river edge looking at the river coming down.
Two media briefings were held for lodge owners, to ensure all visitors, national and international, were aware of the situation and possible evacuation plans.
Reports of migrant birds blown of their normal flight routes were found in certain areas started to come in and Bird SA requested to be contacted as they would collect the birds for rehabilitation back to where they came from if possible.
The IMT worked close with the Mpumalanga Disaster Management, assisting with coordination where needed. Jacques Benade did a tremendous job with providing information from their side during the incident.
Dynamic Incident Management would like to thank the following agencies for releasing their personnel to be part of the Dynamic Incident Management Team:
Incident commander: Stephen Devine, Firescape
Public information officer: Maritza Swanepoel, Letaba Fire Protection Association
Planning section chief: Michelle Kleinhans, Dynamic Incident management
Operations section chief: Henk Havenga, Thabazimbi Crisis Control Centre
Logistics section chief: Annelize Havenga, Thabazimbi Crisis Control Centre
Situation unit personnel – situation updates and maps: Juan-Dre Havenga, Thabazimbi Crisis Control Centre
Marloth park personnel
Initial attack incident commander: Vaughan Potgieter
Nadine Edgecombe: Communications
Branch directors and group supervisors: Jaco Minnaar (Nkomazie Park Ranger), JJ Erasmus (Traffic Official), Yolandi Dippenaar (Securicon Ambulance Services), Deidre Joubert (Wild and Free)
Pat Vorster, Marloth residents’ liaison
All the Marloth Park sector leaders for regular updates and inputs
Marloth Park organisations that opened their facilities and so much more
Tin Shack: Location of the Incident Command Post and breakfast
Needles Safari Lodge: Hosting the Incident Management Team members
Techconnect: Providing Wi-Fi for the Incident Command Post
Amazing Kruger River View: Supplied dinner
But most of all: Marloth Park residents, we thank you for your support and cooperation during the incident.
It is important that we prepare and plan for the critical incidents, as preparedness is key. Floods, tornados, cyclones and much more require greater levels of readiness. Most common mistakes made are re-active, which in most cases is then too late, and people lose their lives, property and environment infrastructures damaged and all could have be prevented if preparedness plans and early activation of trained and qualified incident management teams are deployed.
The saying “Prevention is better than cure” is quite true in pre-incident readiness.
Some words to think about when joining an incident management team: To be part of an incident management team should always be seen as a privilege, no matter what position. It builds you, your skills and experience. One should never let out of sight why you there, to make a difference to someone else in need. Be humble, show excellent leadership skills in the position you hold and never allow ego to drive your passion. Dynamic Incident Management Team is a phone call to assist you!
Source: Michelle Kleinhans, director, Dynamic Incident Management