Minister devastated over flood damage

2011-01-16 15:10
Bloemfontein - Agricultural Minster Tina Joemat-Pettersson was on Sunday devastated after a fly over flooded agricultural areas along the Vaal River in the Northern Cape and Northwest Province.

"I am devastated," she told Sapa in a telephonic interview after a fly over around the flood-hit areas in Douglas, Prieska and Warrenton in Northern Cape and Christiana in North West to look at the damage caused by the floods.

Joemat-Pettersson said the inter-ministerial disaster management team was expected to meet later on Sunday to discuss the flooding after visits to many areas in the country.

"We got an aerial view what was happening," she said adding that during the visit it was established that more areas were waterlogged.

It was estimated that 20 000 hectares of agricultural fields were under water.

"It was quite devastating and we are genuinely concerned for our farmers and farm workers," said Joemat-Pettersson.

She said government would also look at social relief for the poor and farm workers.

Due to the huge agricultural area flooded, there were also concerns about the knock-on effect of threatening higher food prices later on.

Joemat-Pettersson said there was also the threat that many farm workers would be displaced because many farmers could be ruined due to the flooding.

"The poor and (displaced) farm workers would also be affected by higher food prices due to their situation."

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