‘Too early to assess crop damage’

2011-01-18 08:34

 It is too early to estimate the amount of damage the floods are causing the agriculture industry, AgriSA said today.

“It’s a little early to start speculating how much crop damage there is from the floods,” spokesperson Kosie Van Zyl said.

“They can speculate, but in my experience in the end the damage is not as bad as predicted.”

He said the only way to make a proper assessment was to go from farm to farm and vineyard to vinyard once the floods had ended.

Apart from the grape vineyards near Upington in Northern Cape that were still under water, there were likely be no long-term effects on agriculture.

The SA Weather Service today said rainfall was expected for the rest of the week in the northern provinces and central interior of the country, but it was difficult to predict flooding.

“All the northern provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Free State and Gauteng can expect good rainfall,” forecaster Puseletso Mofokeng said.

“It was difficult to say whether there would be flooding. We will have to look at it on a day-to-day basis. However, we can’t rule out the possibility of flooding,” he said.

It was difficult to determine areas that would have heavy rainfall that could cause floods.

Forty-three families had been evacuated from Ivory Park, north of Johannesburg since yesterday as floods swept through the area, emergency services said.

“Emergency services are still at the scene and the operation centre is still operational in Ivory Park,” spokesperson Percy Morokane told Sapa today.

“We are dealing with a situation where people are still displaced. Those people will be provided with relief material until they find their feet.”

Emergency services would continue to monitor areas identified as flooding “hot spots”.

The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) yesterday recommended that 28 municipalities, including Johannesburg and Tshwane, be declared disaster areas.

Heavy flooding over the past month has claimed 40 lives country wide, as a result of flooding, lightning and thunderstorms between mid-December to date.

Information gathered by the National Disaster Management Centre showed that over 6 000 people nationally had been displaced.

Reports received so far from Northern Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal estimated damage to infrastructure at R50 million, R6 million and R300 million respectively.

Cogta Minister Sicelo Shiceka said funding was needed for humanitarian and agricultural relief, the repair and upgrading of public infrastructure and damaged houses.

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