Disaster management plans

2014-09-03 00:00

IN only a matter of weeks, the Msunduzi Municipality will adopt its disaster management plan to deal with disasters such as floods and shack fires.

Last week, fires engulfed 100 Jika Joe shacks.

A number of people are currently accommodated in tents.

Municipal mayor Mxolisi Nkosi said the disaster management plan will be taken to the full council for noting.

“This is one of our unfunded mandates because disaster management is a district issue. This is the document which will assist us in dealing with disasters,” said Nkosi at the Executive Committee (Exco) meeting.

In terms of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002, each organ of state must have a disaster management plan and this needs to be reviewed regularly.

Planning for disastrous events will enable the municipality organisational preparedness and readiness in approaching emergency and disaster cases.

The effectiveness of this plan relies upon the integration by all internal and external departments and the active participation at all levels on the disaster management advisory committee.

There are social, physical, economic environmental and political/ institutional vulnerability factors which contribute to the increase in disaster risks, including fire shacks, veld fires, floods, severe weather conditions, strong winds, transportation incidents, building collapses and xenophobia attacks, to mention but a few.

Exco member, and Democratic Alliance (DA) caucus leader, Bill Lambert said that disaster management is something which Msunduzi should always consider.

“This is something we should always have at the forefront of our minds. We are coming up to December and somehow in this city, December seems to herald floods on a regular basis. We need to take comfort that there is a proper plan and that we are covered,” he said.

Deputy municipal manager for community services, Boniwe Zulu, said “Because we have the services that we are running, like the disaster unit, we need to have a disaster management plan. According to legislature, we need to have this plan in place.”

Commenting on the Jika Joe fires, Zulu said “It was windy and it is always difficult to get closer to extinguish the flames at an informal settlement. They did manage to contain it. We have provided the victims with food parcels, sponges and tents. At Jika Joe, we were in the process of moving them into transit houses while the formal housing project is still being worked on. At the moment, the residents are housed in tents as a temporary measure. They will be taken to the transit houses on condition that they have submitted their application to be part of the transit houses.”

The deputy municipal manager for economic development, Dr Ray Ngcobo, said that the area which was affected by the recent fire is the same area which was burnt down before.

“People who are staying there, fortunately, are on the beneficiary list for transit houses. The problem is that the structures are not complete and so people are staying in tents. We have just agreed now with human settlement to devise a strategy on how we accommodate these people,” said Ngcobo.

Msunduzi mayor Chris Ndlela said that he is happy with the speed in which municipal workers managed to extinguish the fires under windy weather conditions.

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