1 January 2018

South Africa: Interim Relief Planned for Storm Damaged Suburbs

The City of Johannesburg has announced interim plans to deal with the damage to the southern and western parts of the city caused by a severe storm which took place on Saturday.

Speaker of the Joburg Council Councillor Vasco da Gama said that he visited a number of areas on Sunday in order to ascertain the extent of damage caused.

He said that the storm left parts of the south and west of Johannesburg, including Lawley, Protea Glen in Soweto, Lefureng, Snake Park, Slovoville, Jerusalema and Braamfischerville, badly affected.

2 dead in storm

Two men were killed, homes were damaged and many were injured when the storm hit on Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Herman Mashaba said he held a meeting with Dr Elias Sithole, head of the Provincial Disaster Centre, the MMC for Development Planning, councilors, civil society organisations, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), the Emergency Management Services (EMS), and other government entities.

"Following my inspection of the damage caused by the storm, it is clear that due to the extent of the damage caused, the City cannot hope to address the needs of all those affected alone," Mashaba said in a statement.

He said the City's Group Risk Advisory Services will conduct a full risk assessment of the damage caused by the storm and a preliminary report is expected to be released by Friday.

They will also see whether the situation needs to be declared a provincial or national disaster.

Mashaba said the City's Group Risk Advisory Services will also conduct an investigation into the quality of some of the buildings which collapsed during the storm.

This will include the identity of contractors involved in the construction of some of the buildings, the City's role in issuing certificates of occupation which affirm the safety of these buildings, and the role of financial institutions, such as lenders and banks, who fund construction of some of these poor buildings.

This investigation is expected to be completed within the next 60 days he said.

Power woes

Mashaba said the city is also liaising with City Power as five substations in the western part of the City were affected by the storm, effecting Roodepoort and Lenasia. Power has been restored to some of the affected communities. Infrastructure in Braamfischerville had also experienced damage. City Power said they expect all affected areas will have power restored before the end of the week.

Two substations experienced pipe bursts because of the storm. Due to this, parts of the south of Johannesburg experienced water shortages.

Mashaba said they expected water to be fully restored before the end of Sunday. Emergency water tanks have also been provided to the areas.

He added that City parks would clear all debris blown onto roads and the Johannesburg Road Agency will assess which traffic lights and roads need repair.

Temporary accommodation

Mashaba said the Gauteng Provincial Department has committed to providing available temporary accommodation, emergency tents, and mattresses for those displaced by the storm through their Housing Department.

"Adding to this, the City has also committed to making community centres available for the purpose of providing temporary relief to those in need of emergency shelter. Further, SASSA and the Provincial Department of Social Development have also agreed to assist with the provision of food parcels to those displaced," Mashaba said.

He called on the public to assist by donating to civil society organisations including: The Gift of the Givers, Rhema Church, Al-Imdaad Foundation, Tzu Chi Foundation, ZAKA International Rescue, and The Red Cross Society.

Source: News24

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