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Mayor urges Disaster Management to be on high alert Print E-mail
12 December 2017
DisasterManagement

“The number one challenge the City faces is the breakdown of the rule of law,” City of Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba, told a Disaster Management Advisory Forum this morning.

Mayor Mashaba recounted his experience 24 years ago when his hair product factory went up in smoke and urged forum members, who included Sasol, Eskom and Rand Water, among others, to be ready when disaster strikes.

He called for the re-establishment of the rule of law or “I foresee serious challenges for disaster management in the City of Johannesburg”.

Mayor Mashaba cautioned forum members to drive carefully over the City’s bridges, which were falling apart as a result of the R170 billion infrastructure backlog and vandalism by scrap metal dealers. He further urged Home Affairs to ensure that South Africa’s porous borders are policed.

“As a result, more than 3 000 people flock into Joburg in search of economic opportunities that are not there. This puts a strain on housing, resulting in people being accommodated in abandoned buildings and factories that are not fit for humans. Last week, two young girls from the same family died in Alexandra after a partitioning wall collapsed on them in one of these factories,” said Mayor Mashaba.

His address comes five days after the City of Johannesburg launched the ATMOS41 station at Jabulani Fire Station, Soweto, on Friday 8 December 2017. The station is part of the rollout of 10 Hydro-Meteorological Observatory Stations at strategic locations throughout the City.

The City’s Disaster Management, which is a unit of the Emergency Management Services, launched the second station in collaboration with Aqualinks, TAHMO and IBM. The first station, which was launched a couple of months ago, is in Alexandra along the Jukskei River.

Adverse weather conditions have struck parts of the City over the past few years. In 2008 and 2010, Soweto was affected by severe flooding followed by a catastrophic hail storm in 2013. The stations will serve as early-warning systems to avert or mitigate such disasters.

Disaster Management Centre’s Divisional Head, Tshepo Motlhale, said the 10 station, which will be spread out citywide, will improve preparedness and response times. He described the station as a 21 century innovation with the capabilities to collect information that will assist Disaster Management teams throughout the City.

The capabilities of the station include the measuring of rainfall, surrounding temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, wind direction and lightning strikes. When the system is fully operational, the data obtained can be used not only for disaster incident preparedness but to better plan community response teams and the prompt dissemination of information to potentially affected areas. Surrounding schools that have science and technology as subjects can also access the collected data for free.

 

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Last Updated on 12 December 2017