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Help for families left destitute after heavy rains hit Port St Johns, Eastern Cape

Apr 24, 2019
Help for families left destitute after heavy rains hit Port St Johns, Eastern Cape

Areas around Port St Johns affected by flooding following heavy rains

Bhisho - Eastern Cape MEC of Human Settlements, Babalo Madikizela, on Tuesday said that her Department has received a number of cases requesting assistance for destitute families caused by the bad weather in some parts of the Eastern Cape - mostly Port St Johns.

"We have arranged for temporary shelters for those families. However, our technicians are unable to erect the shelters because of the heavy rains," she said.

"In the case of Mama Nomission Jabe from Willowvale, we have already contacted her and are currently in a process of securing a safe home for her and her eight children."

Jabe, 56, was living in a rondavel in a yard owned by her sister-in-law.

"On Tuesday, the Department has assisted her to get a rural site through the traditional authority in order to build for the family," Madikizela said.

"The department has also found that three of her eight children are not benefiting from the government social grants.

"Our officials will in the meantime start the process of registering these cases on the database. All our stakeholders are working tirelessly to ensure help gets to those areas.

"We urge communities to remain alert and take precautionary measures during these heavy storms."

The Department’s Destitute and Vulnerable Groups Programme is a prompt response and intervention on the plight of the destitute people and rescues helpless people from the trenches of poverty and homelessness.

The South African Defence Force (SANDF) was also deployed to help with rescue missions in Port St Johns.

More than 350 people had to be evacuated in the low lying areas in the Port St Johns area.

Disaster team and Joint Operations Center established in Port St Johns

Meanwhile, a disaster team has been established as well as a Joint Operations Center (JOC) led by Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xhasa;  MEC for Finance, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, who is also the African National Congresss (ANC) Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson.

"Disaster officers are on site in PSJ. Affected households are accommodated at the town hall. Boxer Store has donated hot meals for a 100 people," said the ANC.

"SASSA has joined to assist with meals. Al Imdaad has committed to donate a 120 to 150 blankets. SPAR has also committed to assist through the Centre."

DA mobilising resources to assist Port St Johns residents

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape also said that it is mobilising resources in order to assist  Port St Johns residents who have been affected by flooding that followed heavy rains in the area.

"The DA also calls on members of the public, who can lend their time or other resources to contact the DA," said DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga.

"Residents had to be evacuated from their homes and are now being housed in the town hall and churches.

"We also sympathise with the people of Port St Johns after extensive damage was done to their homes."

Bhanga said that DA councillors and activists will be out on the ground, assisting the community where needed, and will be running a soup kitchen to provide a warm meal during these challenging times.

"We will also be reaching out to the business sector to assist with donations.

"Heavy rain is continuing across the province and our DA councillors and volunteers are on full alert, ready to be deployed to other areas that might also be affected by flooding," he added.

"The DA remains committed to assisting the people of the Eastern Cape during this time of need and will do everything in our power to offer any assistance needed."

There has still been more appeals for assistance from government and cncerned citizens.

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