Relief money set aside

2014-02-28 00:00

THE Msunduzi council yesterday set aside more than R400 000 in disaster relief to assist poor families affected by Monday’s devastating storm.

The storm also highlighted the city’s disaster management shortcomings.

Council gave the team the nod to buy electronic equipment to record information.

An amount of R50 000 was set aside to buy a high resolution digital camera, projector, laptop and recording equipment.

The city’s acting disaster manager, Mike Amod, said one of the serious challenges they faced was the lack of electronic portfolio evidence such as capturing visual evidence of the storm and the extent of the havoc it wreaked.

He said the capturing of visual images was important for evidence purposes in the event of any commission of inquiry or otherwise. He said it would also allow for the preservation of historical information on such disasters that strike the city and enable the mitigation of risks in the future.

Amod said the disaster management team had to provide food, blankets, mattresses and plastic to families, many of whom had the roofs blown off their homes.

Officials were currently doing door-to-door assessments to verify information and to see what help was needed for families to rebuild their shelters and recover after the storm. So far they have established that more than 300 houses had their roofs either damaged or blown away.

Amod said one person, Petronella Thandeka Ngqulunga, died in Slangspruit as a result of a falling metal roof sheet.

The storm caused serious damage in the western side of the city, from Edendale through to Imbali, Bisley, Pelham and parts of the city centre.

Amod said the airport was also affected, with the hangar being damaged, and added that it was currently being repaired.

Tree cutting was a major challenge as a number of trees had fallen over electricity lines and onto the roads, blocking the flow of traffic, said Amod.

Witness reporter Thobani Ngqulunga drove around the city to see how much work had been done to repair damage in the suburbs and townships.

A sinkhole in St Patrick’s Road in Scottsville had been filled with sand and stones and motorists were unsure if it was structurally sound for cars to be driving over.

On the main road towards Imbali Unit 13, a big chunk of the road was washed away and this left a gigantic pothole that has now been filled with sand and stone.

Many trees along Bisley’s Oribi Road had been cut up and left on the side of the road, some still in the same state they were after the storm.

At the Pietermaritzburg Airport, a hangar with light aircraft in it, was badly damaged.

Airport manager Winston Fynn said they were still waiting for the insurance company to assess the damage and to quantify the actual cost of the damage after the severe storm.

Theunder-construction Superspar Mall in Hayfields was also struck by the fierce storm but attempts to get a response from the developer were unsuccessful.

Attempts to get a response from the Msunduzi Municipality were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

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