Following massive fires and a major storm – in which eight people lost their lives – the Western Cape Government has issued the following updates, and asked evacuees to please not return home until informed that it is safe to do so:
Knysna Fire update:
Humanitarian support is being co-ordinated for an estimated 8,000-10,000 residents of the greater Knysna area, after devastating fires last night.
Before dawn this morning, the united Incident Command Centre was assessing damage to almost 20 suburbs.
No further storm or fire-related human fatalities have been reported since the deaths of three people in Rheenendal yesterday.
The total number of storm and fire-related fatalities across the Western Cape remains eight (8).
No additional fatalities reported despite severe conditions overnight.
Early estimates included severe devastation to the following suburbs of Knysna:
· Knysna Heights
· Belvedere Heights
· Green Pastures
· Jood se Kamp
· White Location
Later today, damage assessments will be done.
Knysna Fire humanitarian support:
Western Cape Disaster Management will release the details of humanitarian aid required, in order that the public may assist. A wide range of humanitarian agencies already met during last night and are collaborating to meet the need.
Since the fire broke out in the Eden District, the fire-fighting response has been under the command of Eden District Municipality.
Western Cape Government Disaster Management has rallied a wide array of resources to assist.
These include resources contributed by:
· The City of Cape Town
· MTO forestry
· Working on Fire
· Overberg District Municipality
The fire continues to burn on two broad fronts – fought by all available resources.
Reports of some evacuees heading back to evacuated areas in Knysna is a matter of concern.
This is not recommended and placing additional strain on the emergency responders on the ground.
Citizens will be informed when it is safe to return to areas that have been evacuated.
Additional resources being deployed include eight specialist vehicles from CapeNature.
Communication networks in Knysna and surrounds remain faulty.
Members of the public are urged to verify information they receive on social media, and to be directed by trusted sources.
At present a process of registers of names and details of displaced people are being implemented in the various places of refuge in the Knysna area – where evacuees have been taken. The details will be communicated to the public as soon as possible.
Cape Storm update:
City of Cape Town Metro Municipality: Approximately 827 Informal settlement structures were damaged due to flooding and roofs blown off.
Humanitarian relief have been offered to 2,502 people across the Metro. A number of trees were uprooted in the Metro. Widespread electrical outages reported across the Metro are being assessed.
Cape Storm humanitarian support:
The City of Cape Town’s and Western Cape’s Disaster Management departments continue to direct available resources to those in need.
A needs assessment will be announced at 10h30 today, by Western Cape Disaster Management at a press conference at Tygerberg Hospital.