Western Cape Cabinet Ministers today launched an urgent humanitarian effort in the wake of the devastating fires and storms in the Eden District of the Southern Cape.
Almost 10 000 residents were displaced in the Eden district as fires swept through approximately 20 suburbs of Knysna and surrounds, on Wednesday June 7 and today, Thursday June 8.
At least 300 structures have been totally destroyed, with many more still in danger.
This came as Local Government Minister Anton Bredell announced at 10h30 today:
“We are sad to announce that the body of a three-year-old child has been found in the suburb of Welbedacht , bringing the total confirmed casualties related to the disaster in the province to nine.”
The WCG’s provincial Ministers and all Western Cape Government Departments today escalated the humanitarian support, in partnership with a wide range of key partners across society.
The Western Cape Disaster Management centre, at Tygerberg Hospital, is co-ordinating the full humanitarian effort, with multiple partners in the provincial government, local governments, the national government, the NGO sector and the private sector.
In Cape Town, all City of Cape Town fire stations have been declared as “Official Drop-off Points” for donated goods.
The international logistics company DHL has volunteered to deliver all donated goods to the Joint Operations Centre in Knysna, with a full logistics operation.
The donated resources will be distributed on the ground by teams working closely with the victims in the affected areas.
Four provincial Cabinet Ministers – Minister Bredell, Human Settlements Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela, Finance Minister Ivan Meyer and Arts, Culture and Sport Minister Anroux Marais – were briefed on the full humanitarian effort this morning.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was on her way to the Eden District shortly before midday, accompanied by Minister of Economic Development, Agriculture and Tourism Alan Winde, Transport and Public Works Minister Donald Grant and Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo.
DHL spokeswoman Megan Roper, Head of Marketing, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, said: “DHL, as a the market leader in logistics, will be providing critical disaster support to the Garden Route area in the Western Cape during their time of need. Our team of logistics professionals will be coordinating the collection and transport of supplies to critical areas via air and road freight.”
Minister Bredell praised all partners for “pulling together” and detailed the full intergovernmental and inter-agency response to the crisis. He reported 69 schools had been damaged and a comprehensive assessment of all infrastructure was underway.
MEC Madikizela said: “I am hopeful that we will not lose any more lives. Next, we will ensure that all those who have been displaced can be resettled after the storm is over. We will be working as MECs, in partnership with our local municipalities, to see how we can start to rebuild in the aftermath to this crisis.”
MEC Meyer said: “This is a very big crisis and disaster. Under Section 25 of the Provincial Finance Management Act, we may use funds in emergency situations. Given the scale and nature of this disaster I am pleased to announce I will invoke this Act, to release funds for this crisis.
“We are assessing the scale of the situation and I will put proposals to the Western Cape Cabinet after we have seen the full scale of the situation.
“I also call on the international diplomatic community, to request donations to our disaster centres,” Meyer urged.
MEC Marais praised the Disaster Management and emergency services’ teams for their tireless efforts, since the storm began in Cape Town on the night of Tuesday, June 6.
Firefighting efforts continued in the Eden District at midday today – aided by a range of partners, including the City of Cape Town, the Overberg District Municipality, MTO and Working on Fire.
Aerial support continued to be hampered by strong storm winds.
Cape Storm update, in the City of Cape Town:
City of Cape Town Metro Municipality: Approximately 827 Informal settlement structures were damaged due to flooding and roofs blown off.
Humanitarian relief have been offered to 2 502 people across the Metro. A number of trees were uprooted in the Metro. Widespread electrical outages reported across the Metro are being assessed.
Cape Storm humanitarian support:
The City of Cape Town’s Disaster Management department continues to direct available resources to those in need. Efforts also continue in neighbouring municipal areas hit by the storm.
- The campaign to collect donated goods is being managed by Community Development Directorate: Social Relief, in the Western Cape Department of Social Development.
- All queries about donations should be directed to Caesar Sauls – 079 932 4127.