Category: Disaster Management

Severe Weather Alert (7-8 September 2018)

Significant rainfall and intense downpours are expected on Friday, 7 September 2018, where flooding may be a risk. Thunderstorms are also possible. At this point, rainfall amounts expected 20-40mm along the South Coast (Riversdale to Plettenberg bay) and 50mm in the mountains. Also to note is that light rain is expected from Wednesday through to Saturday morning along the South Coast, which will act to saturate the ground.

Less snowfall expected, compared to the initial assessments done on Monday.  Although snowfalls still very likely for both Thursday and Friday over the Langeberge, Swartberge and Nuweveld berge, the snowfall will be lighter for the Outeniqua mountains than initially expected. Very cold weather will be persisting from today through to the weekend though.

However, please note that the models have not been consistent over the last few days in terms of amounts and locations, and thus the SAWS will monitor further.

Rampbestuur en Brandweer afdelings besoek Van Der Hoven Laerskool

“100 Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018” vieringe

Eden Distriksmunisipaliteit (Eden DM) se Rampbestuur en Brandweer afdelings het die Van Der Hoven Laerskool besoek. Die skool bestaan uit 4 onderwysers, ‘n sekretaresse en 75 leerders tot en met Graad 5.

Mnr Gerhard Otto van Eden DM het die verskillende afdelings aan die personeel en leerders voorgestel. Tydens die aktiwiteite het me Gail Bekeer noodhulpwenke aan die kinders verduidelik en me Tippie Bouwer het noodnommers aan die leerders verskaf. Brandweerpersoneel het ‘n skuim demonstrasie gedoen en die kinders hul ‘bunker’ pakke laat aantrek. Ter afsluiting, is kerrie en rys aan die leerders bedien, waarna ‘goodie bags’ en sakke vol klere aan almal oorhandig is.

Die skoolhoof, me Anita Oosthuizen, het die Eden span hartlik bedank vir die gebaar.

Declaring a Local Disaster

The Eden DM Disaster Management Centre has been the cornerstone of sourcing funding for B-Municipalities in the region when disaster-related incidents are foreseen or after it occurred. Local Government (Local Municipalities and the District), the appropriate Provincial Departments, and National Government consider the declaration of a disaster which is required by the Disaster Management Act (Act 57 of 2002) as amended.

The Disaster Management Act makes provision for the declaration of a local disaster.  Although not a prerequisite, the declaration of a disaster could assist access to a Central Contingency Fund, as well as to allow the applicable National / Provincial and Municipal budgets to be supplemented.

It is important to note that each disaster situation is unique. For example, during flash flooding, the government should undertake an immediate intervention to replace a water pipeline or sewerage main. This would mean that the process has to be fast-tracked, and work could commence within a couple of days.

For disasters like drought, which evolves over a few months, the approval process might take longer because the relevant municipality/sphere of government has to indicate if they would be able to deal with the effects of the disaster as part of their multi-year adjustment budgets. Any disaster declaration is valid for three months, but this could be extended on a month-to-month basis through a notice in the government gazette.

The process for declaring a local disaster is as follows:

1.    The Councils of both Local and District Municipalities should decide on whether or not to declare a local disaster.
2.    Once Councils have decided on a way forward, both council resolutions are provided to the Eden DM Disaster Management Centre (DMC), who will then request the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC), for the declaration of a local disaster. This step takes one day to complete (after council resolutions were received).
3.    The next step would be that the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, through a Provincial Cabinet Resolution, recommend or not recommend the request for a local disaster declaration. This step can take up to two weeks to complete.
4.    After that, if the local disaster has been recommended, the National Disaster Management Centre will have to confirm the local disaster declaration through a classification process.  The outcome of this classification process will determine the declaration of a local disaster, which then has to be published in the provincial gazette. This step can take one day or several months if the NDMC decides to first do on-site assessments of the situation, but each scenario is different.
5.    Funding transfer from National Treasury. This process can take between 6 months to two years to complete. Municipalities do however have access to emergency grants which can be provided on request within two weeks (depending on the type of disaster).
6.    If the grant funding route is followed, project plans need to be submitted with each application (project).

Before the processes above are considered, it must be noted that a Municipality would be required to prove that they have exhausted their revenue as prescribed by the Disaster Management Framework.

Once it is considered to forward a request to the PDMC for classification of a local authority area as a local state of the disaster area, Council should consider if the guiding principles as set out in Section 56 of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002, were followed i.e.

“were the consequences of the situation unforeseen and unavoidable, would it have been reasonable to expect that prevention and mitigation measures could have been taken to avoid the catastrophe?”

Disaster declarations do not only unlock Provincial disaster assistance but also National assistance both in the form of disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction funding. A shared service is provided in the form of assistant with the capacity to local municipalities in dealing with after-effects of disasters or risk of disasters that could occur.

Below is an outline of what the Eden DM DMC has done in assisting local municipalities with disaster declarations in the district. To date, the monetary value received over the last two years exceed R27 000 000.

Current emergency disaster grant applications which have been submitted to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) for submission to National Treasury, include: • The R52 mil Knysna drought assistance request is still pending at the NDMC;

  • The R144 mil disaster grant assistance required for both Knysna- and Bitou Local Municipalities following the disastrous fires in June 2017.

Eden DM Mayor Signs Durban Commitment

On 27 March 2018, Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) pledged its commitment to the environment when the Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, signed the Durban Commitment, joining leading local governments from around the world as a partner in the global movement to protect biodiversity.

Cllr Memory Booysen busy signing the Durban Commitment.

The document was signed during a Political Leadership Wetlands Awareness Workshop, which was sponsored by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), as part of their Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Wetlands South Africa project. The Durban Commitment is a non-binding commitment and model created by local governments, for local governments and the communities they serve, in order to protect and enhance biodiversity at the local level. The workshop was attended by officials and political leaders from the district and focused on raising awareness on the value wetlands play in sustaining healthy communities and ecosystems.

Cllr Khayalethu Lose, Portfolio Chairperson of Community Services, officially opened and welcomed attendees; he acknowledged the sponsor ICLEI, and thanked them for enhancing awareness of wetlands and biodiversity. Ms Kate Snaddon of the Western Cape Wetlands Forum presented ‘what wetlands are and why they are valuable’.

During the training, it became known that Wetlands are able to purify water by filtering pollutants out of water systems. They are also essential in protecting communities from the impacts of natural disasters such as droughts, as they are in regulating flooding impacts by reducing water flow, acting as sponges that store water and release it slowly. The severity of the impact of droughts and floods are therefore greatly reduced through the natural functioning of wetlands.

Wetlands are considered to be high-value ‘ecological infrastructure’, in that they provide critical ecosystem services within the areas where they occur. Poorer communities are most vulnerable to the impacts of wetland degradation. Many of the plants growing within and around wetlands have natural medicinal properties. Local communities harvest these plants to maintain or improve their personal health. Local communities living within the Eden District commonly harvest reeds from wetlands to make baskets and furniture, grasses for thatching and Arum lilies to sell on the side of the road.

Back fltr: Mr Wouter Jacobs- Eden DM Disaster Management Coordinator, Mr Rian Basson – Disaster Management Intern Researcher, Ms Lee-Ann Joubert – Disaster Management Intern Researcher, Ms Nina Viljoen – Specialist: Environmental Management, Cllr Noluthando Mwati – Deputy Mayor: Oudtshoorn Municipality, Cllr A Dellemijn – Mossel Bay Portfolio Councillor, Mr Siphiwe Dladla – Manager: Office of the Executive Mayor and Mr D Kotze – Deputy Mayor: Mossel Bay Municipality.
Front fltr: Ms Kirsty Robinson – ICLEI Representative, Ms Crystal Brown – Disaster Management Intern Researcher, Ms Gail Bekeer – Administrative Assistant: Disaster Management, Ms Tippie Bouer – Disaster Management Emergency Centre Supervisor, Cllr Memory Booysen – Eden DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Charlotte Clarke – Deputy Mayor: George Municipality, Cllr Khayalethu Lose – Eden DM Portfolio Chairperson: Community Services, Ms Kate Snaddon – Western Cape Wetlands Forum and Ms Machi Majoe – Representative of ICLEI.

In conclusion, the Executive Mayor of Eden DM, Cllr Memory Booysen, thanked the service providers for the insightful training session and said: “Today, I have developed a different view pertaining to wetlands as a whole. I will definitely be an influence to other people. This was indeed an ‘eye-opener’ – I chose to never attend these kind of engagements in the past, but as from today, I am a clever mayor who will look at you from a different perspective as protectors of the environment,” Mayor Booysen said.
By signing the Durban Commitment, the Eden District Municipality pledged its dedication to wetland protection within the Eden district, as well as its commitment towards the implementation of remedial action towards the recovery of degraded and damaged wetlands.