Government departments and local government structures, including Provincial Treasury
met last Thursday to evaluate, consolidate and quantify drought and storm damage in Limpopo and to define what resources were needed.
This information is to be supplied to National Treasury as well as the national disaster centre.
It follows Premier Stan Mathabatha’s request to the national government that all five districts in the province be declared disaster areas some weeks earlier. R3 million has originally been made available by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and 15 000 bags of special food supplements for animals have already been bought and distributed, Head of Department Ramatsimele Maisela confirmed.
Cooperative Governance Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC, Makoma Makurupetje, at a press conference on the same day said the province experienced some severe thunderstorms since the previous weekend, causing a lot of damage, especially at Maruleng, Fetakgomo, Lepelle Nkumpi and Ga-Nchabeleng villages, as especially Mopani, Sekhukhune and Capricorn districts were affected. Teams were already dispersed to the affected areas to assess the damage caused by wind and hailstorms since last weekend. More than 200 families were affected, with some families who lost everything they had. The South African Social Services Agency has already distributed food parcels while tents and blankets have also been given to affected families.
Makhurupetje said the southern part of the Waterberg district as well as the Sekhukhune district are areas highly vulnerable to such storms and she warned residents to be vigilant and remain on high alert for storms. She said children should not try to swim in or cross rivers following rain.
“Disaster management is everybody’s business,” she said adding that disaster management centres are always operational and on high alert to intervene. In case of an emergency the following number can be called: 082 374 6666. She said some 440 houses are to be built for those affected by disasters with R34 million having been made available for building houses for people affected by disasters and in the next financial year R29 million will be made available for this cause.
“Projections are made on an ongoing base; during some seasons rain and storms are more likely to occur and during other fires are more likely to cause disasters,” she said.
She said although some rain had fallen, it was not nearly enough to mitigate the drought and predictions are not good for the next couple of months. “The drought may continue,” she said.
Maisela said the department asked for another R51 million in the short-term to provide drought relief to farmers. The R51 million was set aside on Tuesday.
Story: NELIE ERASMUS
Photo: Cooperative Governance Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC, Makoma Makurupetje and Provincial Treasury MEC Rob Tooley during the media conference last Friday.