International scientists visit the Eden Disaster Management Centre

Scientists from Romania, Germany, Hungary and Netherland specialising in Disaster Management related fields were astounded with the operations of the EDMC last week during their visit to the Eden District Municipality.

Eden DM officials and the delegation showcasing the South African Disaster Management brand during the visit

While Cllr Tertius Simmers, Eden DM’s Portfolio Chairperson for Roads Services, warmly welcomed the scientists, he said: “The entire Western Cape Province is currently going through the worst state of drought and that the visit came at the right time”.

The International scientists (in no particular order) are: Prof Dr R. Liedl (Inst. of Groundwater Management, Germany), Dr. Agoston Restas (Director; Public University of Hungary, Hungary), Dr Dirk Jungman (Institute for Hydro Biology, Technical University of Dresden, Dresden, Germany), Prof Kees Boersma (Vrije University Amsterdam, Netherland), Dr J. Grundmann (Germany), Dr Joerg Szarzynski (United Nations University, Germany), Dr H. Börnick (Institution of Water Chemistry, Germany), Mr J. Seegert (Institution of Urban Water Management, Germany), Prof Zoltan Torok (Research Institute for Sustainability and Disaster Management (ISUMADECIP), University of Babas Baloyi, Romania) and (front, left) Dr Andries Jordaan (Director of Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa – University of the Free State) with the Eden DM officials during the visit

During the discussion, it became evident that Eden DM is indeed on the right track to ensure that the Disaster Management functions outstandingly to ensure that the living standards of Eden district residents are protected and improved. This, after Eden DM’s Manager for Disaster Management, Mr Gerhard Otto, presented a scope and operations of the EDMC as far back as 2005. During the presentation, Otto also mentioned about the Vibrio Vulnificus virus that made its appearance last year causing the death of a person and added that this case has the potential for research. “The water temperature specifically, must also be considered when such research is to be conducted”, Otto said. He further highlighted the Districts 5 priority risks and mentioned that it has become one of the district’s priority areas to address the rapid spread of invasive alien plants. The latter is not only one of the main contributing factors in the increased intensity of bush and veldt fires, but also puts enormous strain on water availability.  

The delegation and Eden DM officials participated in discussions to bring about research opportunities for the Eden district

Mr Clive Africa, Acting Municipal Manager, boasted about the Photovoltaic (PV) Plant that the Municipality erected last year.

Mr Clive Africa, Eden DM’s Acting Municipal Manager explained various Disaster Management related initiatives to the members of the delegation

This is a first for the country, where a municipality erected a PV Plant to the value of R3.8 million to generate their own energy resources. “In five years we will be able to see the return on our investment’’, Africa emphasised.

The highlight of the visit was when Cosmonaut, Mr Dumitru Prunario, introduced himself as being the 103rd human being to explore outer space. This was the first time in history that a cosmonaut visits the offices of Eden DM. While sharing his experience of outer space, Prunario said: “When I was in space, I felt very powerful, but at the same time I felt vulnerable – anything could have gone wrong during the mission. I also realised that we cannot function on our own.  Whatever we do, will have an impact on others. What we do on earth, will have an effect on other planets”. Prunario further shared: “When I came back, only then I realised the enormous amount of stress that I built up during my space mission”. 

The visit formed part of the delegation’s ppost-symposiumtour that was undertaken from 25 February to 2 March 2017 in South Africa, whereby Disaster Management was specifically the main focus of the tour.

The Eden District Municipality extends a word of gratitude to Dr Andries Jordaan, Director of the Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC) at the University of the Free State, who included the Eden Disaster Management Centre in the itinerary of the tour and who introduced the EDMC to the delegation.

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