5 January 2018

South Africa: Joburg Mayor Declares Local State of Disaster After Storm

Mayor Herman Mashaba on Friday declared the city a local state of disaster, following a heavy storm that left many people stranded and homeless.

The declaration comes after Mashaba met with various stakeholders to determine the relief that should be provided to communities affected by the destructive storm which hit last week.

Trees, that fell on a vehicle during the storm, killed two men in their 20s in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

The storm raged through different parts of the city, affecting residents in Protea Glen, Lenasia and Braam Fisher in the south of Johannesburg.

Fear of protests

Mashaba expressed concern that this may aggravate more protests among dissatisfied residents. On Wednesday, News24 reported that protestors in Soweto blocked roads and burned tyres in a desperate attempt to get help.

The cost of the damage to different properties throughout the city, including that of Trade Route Mall where the roof collapsed, is currently estimated to be close to R186.5m.

The figure is expected to increase, following further investigation.

According to a statement by Mashaba, 3 152 households - between one and 20 years old - were affected by the storm.

Damage caused by strong winds, included roofs, carports, walls, and collapsing houses.

"It should be noted that some of the houses affected by the storm did not have facia boards and/or guttering on their structures, which normally play a role in preventing wind from entering underneath the roof structures," read a statement.

The City's Group Risk Advisory Services will, over the next 60 days, continue to conduct a full risk assessment of the damage, considering the quality of the buildings, the City's role in certifying the safety of the buildings, the contractors involved in construction, and the financial institutions funding the construction.

Power restored, accommodation provided

Many other obstructions created by the storm have been cleared. Power has been restored to five substations affected and damages have been repaired, including damages to two water substations and the functioning of traffic lights.Food and accommodation have been provided by the Gauteng provincial department and the department of social development.

"The province has provided temporary accommodation in the form of emergency tents to the 1 200 people displaced by the storm. Adding to this, the City made community centres available for the purpose of providing temporary shelter," read a statement.

Mashaba condemned community members for disturbing disaster relief efforts by refusing entry and threatening those who were there to help affected residents and assess affected houses.

Members of the public have been encouraged to make use of the emergency hotline to report emergencies, service delivery disruptions and to make donations. The number is 011 674 0038.

Source: News24

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