Ricochet News

VIDEO: Veld fires bring Kouga Municipality community together

BY JESICA SLABBERT - JUNE 8, 2017
VIDEO: Veld fires bring Kouga Municipality community together

While authorities and residents take stock of the devastation left by the runaway fires in the Knynsa-Plettenberg Bay area following a large storm that barrelled its way through the region on Tuesday and Wednesday, fires also broke out in the Greenbushes area of Port Elizabeth and near Thornhill.

The Greenbushes and Seaview fire started late on Wednesday afternoon and was contained by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality firefighters.

Another fire broke out in the Seaview area on Thursday morning.

Just across the border, in the Kouga Local Municipality, firefighters managed to bring fires around the along the N2 near Kruisfontein, Rooidraai near Hankey, the Humansdorp waste site and industrial area, Boskloof and the St Francis Golf Course on Wednesday afternoon.

Another blaze, however, broke out in the Longmore area of Thornhill resulting in the evacuation of around 200 residents to the Katriena Felix Community Hall, in Thornhill.

RNEWS visited the hall on Thursday and spoke to community members.

Jonathan Fowke, who owns most of the businesses in Thornhill, said that; “It is good to see how the community all rallied together to help the Longmore Forestry that burnt down.”

He added; “It’s not over yet, there are still a lot of jobs that have been lost because of the damages done to the Forestry and the Saw Mill, but this is where we need to rally together and help each other out.”

Fowke has been helping the Thornhill and Longmore residents since early on Thursday morning - evacuating horses and animals in the area and bringing people to the Community Hall.

Community members have been told that their homes are safe at the moment and that firefighters are trying to keep the blaze contained.

They, however, said that they have no idea about how much longer they will have to stay in the Community Hall.

“Last night, we were taken out from our homes because it’s burning near us and it’s still burning. So last night they brought us to Thornhill to sleepover in the Community Hall, we don’t know when or what time we are going back,” said Ennes van Mongo, a resident from Longmore.

Kouga Local Municipality emergency services and the Sarah Baartman District Municipality’s Disaster Management are still in the area to provide assistance.

Kouga Local Municipality Mayor, Elza van Lingen, has appealed for donations of clothing, bedding, as well as food and water for those evacuated as well as the firefighters.

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