Taking stock of hazards

2019-10-22 06:00

It was a show-and-tell commemoration of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction as the City’s disaster risk management collaborated with a host of other agencies to display their capabilities in the event of an earthquake, particularly the various equipment that is used in scenarios such as structural collapse, urban search and rescue and major infrastructure damage.

While earthquakes are uncommon in the Western Cape, 2019 is the 50th commemoration of the 1969 Tulbagh-Ceres earthquake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale. Another earthquake was recorded in the Milnerton area in 1809.

“International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is an opportunity to take stock of the hazards that face communities, how these can be mitigated and our readiness to deal with such eventualities.

“One key aspect is ensuring the ongoing functioning of critical infrastructure during and after a disaster, and also its durability to withstand the impact of disasters. So it is critical to ensure that places like schools, hospitals, multi-storey buildings and so forth are built to last by ensuring that location and hazard-appropriate planning regulations and building codes are enforced,” says Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.

Activities hosted by the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) in support of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction included an exhibition of specialised equipment required in the event of a disaster, a desktop exercise with a well-developed earthquake scenario including the major infrastructure sector departments addressing identified infrastructure challenges and activities to commemorate the sizeable earthquakes in Tulbagh-Ceres and Milnerton.

Some role players that were involved in the exercise and exhibition included emergency services from the Western Cape provincial government, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), neighbourhood watches, Gift of the Givers, City of Cape Town Emergency Services (EMS) and City departments such as Water and sanitation, building and development and roads and Smith.

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