Block A, Riviera Office Park, 6-10 Riviera Road, Killarney, Johannesburg, 2193

NEWS ARTICLE

05 Sep 2017

HDA Assists With Temporary Shelters In Western Cape Fire Affected Areas

HDA Assists With Temporary Shelters In Western Cape Fire Affected Areas

Between Wednesday, 7 June 2017, and Saturday, 10 June 2017, storm-wind-driven fires raged through the towns of George, Knysna and Bitou, leaving a costly trail of destruction. Propelled by wind speeds of between 50 and 70 kilometres per hour, the fires caused structural damage to both residential dwellings and municipal infrastructure.

The disaster was quickly followed by a Special Minister and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) Meeting on 27 June 2017, which saw the HDA receiving a mandate to develop a Disaster Response Plan for affected human settlements. The plan measured the extent and scale of the damage done across the affected areas, ensure categorisation of the damage dealt to the affected areas and assess the levels of intervention required. The HDA has also initiated a process of developing a comprehensive business plan that focuses on human settlement disaster intervention and redevelopment to facilitate the speedy rebuilding of residential properties in the affected areas.

The disaster was quickly followed by a Special Minister and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) Meeting on 27 June 2017, which saw the HDA receiving a mandate to develop a Disaster Response Plan for affected human settlements. The plan measured the extent and scale of the damage done across the affected areas, ensure categorisation of the damage dealt to the affected areas and assess the levels of intervention required. The HDA has also initiated a process of developing a comprehensive business plan that focuses on human settlement disaster intervention and redevelopment to facilitate the speedy rebuilding of residential properties in the affected areas.

Temporary Residence Areas (TRAs)

Among the main outcomes of the MINMEC meeting was the establishment of TRAs for affected communities that will house homeless residents in the interim. Prior to any development intervention in informal settlements, however, it was decided that a detailed assessment of the site will need to be done to identify the areas that are suitable for human settlements and those that do not qualify to be serviced. This will aid municipalities in dealing with human settlements in a way that is better co-ordinated and integrated.

Prioritising Safe Structures

It was also noted in the recent engagements that the types of temporary structures used in Knysna and the Emergency Intervention in George pose a fire danger and need to be reviewed. Different structure options are currently under consideration. To get the ball rolling, a high-level implementation plan has been tabled that proposes a set of actions intended to help rebuild the damaged structures. This plan includes actions such as site verification; revised cost estimates; prioritisation for implementation, disaster rehabilitation as well as the establishment of TRAs. The plan was finalised in the month of July.