The City of Cape Town’s disaster operations centre has been inundated with calls as panic gripped residents after a hoax message about a hurricane hitting the Mother City made the rounds on social media on Thursday.
The fake warning said a “hurricane type storm” would hit the city on Thursday night, and urged citizens to prepare for the storm.
“Evacuation plans have been set out for several areas and the South African air force is on standby from 10pm onwards,” it said
The hoax comes a day after the South African Weather Service issued a storm warning, with Cape Town authorities bracing for heavy downpours and the “potential fallout”.
Disaster risk management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said the South African Weather Service was predicting galeforce winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour.
But, there was no need for panic, Powell said, adding the calls from concerned residents were blocking the lines for real emergencies.
“We ask that the media please help us highlight the fact that this is indeed a hoax message and advising the public not to call the DOC number in that message unless they have a real emergency.”
The storm made landfall on Thursday, and is expected to continue into Friday.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Good day! The South African Weather Service will NEVER send you a warning on WhatsApp. Whoever created it is a Hoax and trying to create a panic among the people. Please Ignore and delete any WhatsApp message regarding that.
— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) June 14, 2018