Ricochet News

State of Disaster declared in Kouga Local Municipality

JUNE 13, 2017
State of Disaster declared in Kouga Local Municipality

Prompted by the widespread destruction caused by fires that have been burning in the region since last week Wednesday, the Kouga Local Municipality Council on Monday afternoon declared a Local State of Disaster.

"The declaration, made at a special meeting at Jeffreys Bay, will now be promulgated in the Provincial Gazette," the municipality explained.

"This will allow the municipality to apply for additional funding from provincial and national government so as to address the impact of the fires on the local infrastructure and communities."

It said that two hot spots are still burning in the Kouga region.

"These are in the vicinity of Loerie and Crossways. There is no immediate danger to property. We are grateful to the local farming community who has also been helping with mop-up operations in these areas."

The municipality said that about 50% (roughly 10 500ha) of the Longmore Plantation has burnt down. A total of 110 fire-fighters are still fighting fires in the plantation.

"Motorists are cautioned to reduce their speeds when travelling along the N2 and R102 in the vicinity of Van Stadens and Thornhill," it added.

"Visibility has been poor, especially along the R102 in the vicinity of Thornhill.

"Many animals, both livestock and wildlife, have also been wondering onto the roads because fencing either burnt out or had to be cut so that the animals could escape from the fire."

Sanrail has been asked to put up temporary road signs to warn motorists.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro was able to restore the electricity supply to Thornhill on Sunday and undertook to have the power restored to Longmore by Monday afternoon.

"The Metro supplies electricity to Thornhill and Longmore even though these areas are located within Kouga Municipality’s boundaries," the Kouga Local Municipality explained.

Trauma counselling is being offered to residents affected by the fire through the Department of Social Development and Jeffreys Bay Trauma centre.

"We would like to thank MTN and Vodacom for helping to boost the signal in the Thornhill area for improved communication," the municipality said.

"We are very grateful to everyone for the donations and support that have been streaming in since the crisis started on Wednesday.

"We have sufficient supplies for affected communities at present. We also have enough prepacked meals for fire-fighters at present, but will send out an alert should there be any further requirements," it added.