28 July 2011

South Africa: Handling of Heavy Snowfalls Demonstrated Country's Disaster Response Capability

The Department of Cooperative Governance's National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) today congratulates provincial and local disaster management centres in the three provinces that experienced heavy snowfalls, for preventing serious damages and loss of lives through their collaborative approach in dealing with the emergency situation.

The NDMC today confirms that reports from Kwa Zulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State provinces indicate that things are back to normal with just a few roads that are in the process of being cleared with the relevant authorities still monitoring the developments in those areas.

The three provinces reported road closures which led to stranded motorists due to the abnormally heavy snowfall which befell parts of the three provinces in the beginning of this week. The Free State province had also reported power failure in Vrede which has since been restored.

"Our emergency systems in all government spheres are showing improvements. We see notable levels of coordination and collaboration among disaster management centres which optimises the use of resources which in turn leads to the provision of superior service to communities," noted Modiegi Sethusha, the acting head of the NDMC.

The floods that most parts of the country experienced at the beginning of the year, which also resulted in the declaration of a state of national disaster, highlighted the benefits of disaster response coordination which has now played a critical role as a strength that disaster management centres drew from to efficiently eliminate any serious damage or loss of life during this week's heavy snowfalls.

Sethusha applauds the joint efforts involving the Police; Defence; Road Traffic Management Corporation; South African Weather Service; transport department; farmers; Border Control Coordinating Committee; members of the public; provincial and municipal disaster management centres who all ensured that swift and effective assistance was provided.

The National Joint Committee on disaster under the leadership of NDMC will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that swift response is available should any emergency situation arise.

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Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

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