Joburg EMS irked by disruptions to disaster relief efforts

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Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG- The Johannesburg Emergency Services department has been left peeved by disruptions to disaster relief efforts to areas affected by the recent storm.

The unit said a few disgruntled residents of Protea Glen were disturbing disaster relief efforts.

“Yesterday and earlier today the Social Development’s Food Bank was refused entry to Protea Glen to handover disaster relief materials including food to families that were affected by the storm. It has also come as a shock that assessors from the NHBRC were disturbed and threatened while trying to assess the affected houses. The City is still conducting a thorough assessment to ascertain the exact number of households affected by the storm,” said spokesperson Nana Radebe.

She said the intensified stakeholder relations have provided direction towards ensuring sustainable short, medium and long-term interventions amongst other priorities which include the provision of humanitarian relief, support and restoration to the displaced with focus on Emergency Services, housing, shelter, water and sanitation, food and health services.

The storm and heavy rainfall wreaked havoc on parts of the city and outlying areas on Saturday afternoon, leaving two people dead. A number of incidents were reported in parts of the south and west of Johannesburg as a result of the storm, including the structural collapse of parts of the roof and subsequent flooding at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia.

The storm uprooted trees which closed certain roads and also damaged houses, blowing off roofs, and vehicles in various areas, especially in Protea Glen in Soweto. Six people were also injured in a minibus taxi crash on the N12 near Impala Road, while several other minor crashes were reported during the storm.

Radebe said the behaviour was unacceptable.

“The City’s main priority is to ensure people affected should receive the necessary relief efforts promptly and the recent resistance from the few disgruntled people is unacceptable. The department is willing and ready to assist but amidst the recent protest the major crisis has been identifying the correct leadership to understand the challenges and immediate concerns of the protester,” she said.

Radebe added that the City of Joburg was working closely with a number NGO’s and other stakeholders ranging from Non-Governmental Organisations to Private Businesses, whom on a moment’s notice did not hesitate to come to the assistance of the City’s Disaster Management and provide charitable aid to the destitute residents of the city when called upon.

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