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Disaster relief on the way to poor communities, City promises Print E-mail
13 March 2017

The City of Johannesburg has devised new and innovative ways to make emergency and disaster management services accessible to poor communities, especially in informal settlements, which do not have adequate or the necessary infrastructure to deal with such eventualities.

On Friday March 10, Cllr Michael Sun, Member of Mayoral Committee for Public Safety, heard during a Public Safety Forum held at the City’s Region E offices in Sandton how residents in these parts of the city battled to access the necessary services during emergency situations.

Councillors said this was worse in informal settlements, which were more susceptible to accidental fires. Some of the councillors suggested that the areas be provided with disaster relief packs.

“If an emergency occurs, we should use these packs, which will be much easier to transport and much quicker to access. They ensure that precious time is not wasted while dispatching aid,” said Cllr Jeff Pietersen of Ward 91.

In response, Cllr Sun said: “Yes, we really need to increase the disaster relief packs. We’ve already designed something that will come in very handy when disasters strike. The pack is quite basic but it will be [very effective].”

Cllr Sun said that informal settlements were a challenge as they did not have enough fire hydrants. He said fire fighters always took along water tankers with them when responding to emergencies in these areas. But sometimes the tankers did not have the capacity to carry the amount of water needed to stop fires, which angered residents.

“But we hope that there will be a huge difference made with the purchase of new fire engines. We’re going to see some improvements.

“By the end of October this year, each and every fire station in Johannesburg will have an extra fire engine. When the new fire engines arrive, the old ones will be taken for comprehensive repairs and proper maintenance,” he added.

Anna Selani, Divisional Chief for Fire Safety in Region E, said in many areas fire fighters were unable to access fire hydrants because residents had built shacks around them.

“This is the reason you hear people complain that there was a fire engine at a fire scene but without water,” Selani said.

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Last Updated on 13 March 2017