Eastern Cape Cabinet declares Disaster following heavy rains and floods

Johannesburg- The Eastern Cape Executive Council has declared a Provincial Disaster following incidents of flooding and other natural disasters which affected most parts of the province.

The provincial cabinet took a decision during a special seating held Tuesday evening.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said the declaration of disaster will be submitted to the National Disaster Management Centre for classification, verification and for further assessment in order to mobilise necessary resources and ensure provision of adequate support to affected communities.

“The declaration of a disaster will ensure a consolidated and integrated government effort to support communities to rebuild their lives and protect livelihoods,” said Mabuyane.

The province has been negatively affected by the torrential rains leading to floods, thunderstorms and other incidents of natural disasters across the province since last December and the recent incidents.

At least 17 people have lost their lives and hundreds of homes have been destroyed, leaving those who have been affected homeless.

These incidents have also caused severe damage to public infrastructure with at least 57 schools and 49 clinics.

Mabuyane said interventions will be required to provide humanitarian relief, repair to damaged houses, repair and to public infrastructure inclusive of roads, schools, health facilities, electricity lines and poles and agricultural infrastructure relief and livestocks.

He said preliminary assessments indicate an estimation of damage amounting to R166 million for education facilities and R30 million for fixing electricity infrastructure such as poles and lines.

The cabinet expressed words of gratitude to humanitarian organizations such as the Gift of the Givers, Al Imdaad, Ubuntu Foundation, businesses and individuals who have come up to help the affected communities. Mabuyane said their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Cabinet also revealed that the Red Cross has mobilized R6,4 million to cover household basic needs and recovery, procurement and delivery of blankets and 1500 hygiene kits.

It also re-emphasized the calls for communities to refrain from building houses or shelters in low lying areas, adjacent to the rivers which are prone to flooding.

“We further call on communities to remain on high alert and not to attempt to cross low lying bridges, valleys and rivers when there is flooding,” said Mabuyane.

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Johnnie Isaac

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