Home News NC govt working to provide basic services to storm-hit areas

NC govt working to provide basic services to storm-hit areas

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The MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Bentley Vass, during a media briefing on Wednesday, said that several basic services had been affected by the storms.

Picture: Supplied

THE NORTHERN Cape provincial government says it has worked in partnership with law enforcement agencies and the private sector to ensure that residents have access to basic services after the recent heavy rain storms that hit the Province.

The MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Bentley Vass, during a media briefing on Wednesday, said that several basic services had been affected by the storms.

“Key areas that have been severely affected in the Province are education, human settlements and agriculture – which impacts directly on the citizens in these areas,” said Vass.

“A total of 27 schools have been affected by the floods. The majority of these schools are located within the John Taolo Gaetsewe District. The extent of the damage can only be assessed after the water levels have dropped and the areas are accessible.

“The infrastructure unit will, however, explore the possibility of providing water with mobile tankers if the water levels do not drop significantly by the time the schools reopen.

“The district offices are also monitoring the situation and, if the need arises, learners will be accommodated at the nearest school or community-based sites.

The MEC for Education, Zolile Monakali, said that only one school will not be able to reopen next week for the new academic year.

“Only one school, Ikageng Primary School in the Siyacuma municipal area, will not be able to open next week when the school year commences. The school is located close to the river … All other schools will open next week,” said Monakali.

Vass said that health care services were also affected.

“The JTG District was most affected. In some areas the district’s health care practitioners were unable to report to their respective workplaces, which subsequently resulted in limited services in some of the facilities. Patients who have been discharged from Bloemfontein hospitals had to remain in Kimberley longer due to limited movement or no travelling on certain roads. The Department of Health is, however, managing the situation by postponing the appointments of patients where this is possible, while patients with life-threatening conditions in the areas where ambulances have been unable to reach have been reprioritised to be airlifted.

“Some patients from JTG have been diverted to North West medical facilities to ensure services are accessible.

“Other plans include, but are not limited to, reinforcing accessible facilities and the provision of extended services at certain facilities.

“The department will continuously monitor the situation and adjust its action plans in response to the potential disaster.”

Vass said food parcels were also distributed to affected communities.

“Over the past few days the District Joint Operations worked with the department to activate a food distribution plan for the rural flooded areas of JTG. With the support of the SANDF this past weekend, a total of 260 food parcels plus 57 food vouchers were distributed to Dithakong, Bothitong, Ditshipeng, Bendell and Loopeng.

“The department will continue to provide relief in the form of food parcels, food vouchers, blankets and mattresses to affected areas in all the districts. On completion of this process, it is expected that a total of 1,500 food parcels and food vouchers, 1,550 blankets and 1,100 mattresses would have been distributed.

“Soup kitchens will also be operational. This includes areas in Ritchie, Schmidtsdrift, Greenpoint and Club 2000 in the Sol Plaatje municipal area.”

Vass added that warnings have also been issued to communities and farmers living close to affected rivers.

“The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has issued a warning to farmers along the lower Orange River to secure equipment, especially pumps and mechanisation. Another warning was issued with regards to Rift Valley fever and the need to vaccinate livestock in this period.

“The fodder bank stands ready to distribute fodder once the Extension Services has verified the needs, especially in the JTG area.

“Weather reports predict more rain for some of the areas and we therefore warn community members to stay vigilant, to communicate any flooding problems with the local authorities and to follow instructions from the local authorities.

“All teams remain on high alert as the rivers are still in flood and the ZFM area might be facing challenges in the next few days,” Vass concluded.