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9 Febuary 2024 Media Release: A Collaborative Effort in Disaster Preparedness: Strengthening Community Resilience, starting with our Schools

Media Release: A Collaborative Effort in Disaster Preparedness: Strengthening Community Resilience, starting with our Schools

For immediate release
9 February 2024

In a concerted effort to fortify community resilience against potential disasters, the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management team joined forces with the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Bitou and Knysna Municipalities. Together, they embarked on a mission to equip schools within our communities with knowledge and tools necessary to mitigate and respond effectively to various hazards with the key focus on floods, fires, and how to stay safe during loadshedding.

Recognising the pivotal role of education in disaster preparedness, the initiative placed schools at the forefront of the Departmental disaster awareness strategy. Drawing insights from a comprehensive Disaster Risk and Vulnerability assessment, it was a reminder that educational institutions serve as vital hubs for disseminating critical information to students and surrounding communities. Along the eastern border of the Western Cape and within the Garden Route district, ten (10) schools were identified as potential hosts for the Disaster Awareness Campaign that started on the 5th of February 2024 and end on the 9th of February 2024.

Among the schools that were earmarked for participation, are:

Bitou Local Municipal Area

– Wittedrift Primary School
– The Crags Primary School
– Formosa Primary School
– Phakamisani Primary School
– Kranshoek Primary School

Knysna Local Municipal Area

– Chris Nissen Primary School
– Thembelitsa Primary School
– Fraaisig Primary School
– Bracken Hill Primary School
– Karatara Primary School

These schools were strategically chosen based on their geographic positioning and capacity to engage with students. Spearheaded by the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre, the campaign sought to collaborate with schools in conducting a disaster awareness play tailored specifically for learners. The simulated plays helped to foster a culture of preparedness and responsibility within schools and surrounding communities. By empowering learners with the knowledge of what to do and whom to call in times of crisis, the initiative aimed to instill a sense of confidence and self-reliance among individuals.

Disaster educations sessions held at schools within the Knysna and Bitou areas.

Lee-Ann Joubert, Disaster Management Officer at GRDM, said: “As the Disaster Awareness Campaign reaching its conclusion, reflections on its success underscore the power of collective effort and collaboration. By harnessing the strengths of educational institutions and community stakeholders, significant strides are made towards building resilient and disaster-ready communities. Looking ahead, it is imperative to sustain the momentum generated by this initiative. Prioritising proactive measures and educational initiatives will be paramount in enhancing preparedness and response capabilities.

In closing Joubert said: “Together, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to navigating the challenges posed by natural disasters with resilience, unity, and unwavering determination”.

Feature Image: Lee-Ann Joubert, Disaster Management Officer at GRDM, during an education session.