Millions set for disaster relief in the Western Cape for 2024

Floods gripped the Western Cape this week. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Floods gripped the Western Cape this week. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 9, 2024


Cape Town - Millions have been set aside for disaster relief efforts amid the inclement weather and accompanying storm and flood damage in the province.

The Provincial Disaster Response Grant received a R149 345 million injection and the Municipal Disaster Response Grant got R378 342 for possible significant weather events this year.

This week Disaster Management responded to flooded informal settlements across the City, which left nearly 6 000 people in dire straits.

Humanitarian relief organisation, Gift of the Givers, said they assisted families with food, blankets and personal hygiene care items including plastic sheeting in Nomzamo, Lwandle and Masiphumelele.

Last year, two significant weather events occurred in June and September in the province causing significant damage to infrastructure, the agricultural sector, educational facilities and loss of lives.

A total amount of R130 457 570 was allocated for the June and September 2023 events.

Earlier this week a tornado on the KZN North Coast caused massive damage to homes and infrastructure.

Between July last year and March this year, the Disaster Risk Management Centre recorded 10 299 incidents during severe weather episodes, affecting 21 419 people.

They are now preparing for this winter’s events.

Floods gripped the Western Cape this week. photographer Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith said the Disaster Management Advisory Forum meets quarterly, to discuss, assess, and plan for potential risks to public safety.

“A standing item is an overview from the SA Weather Service on prevailing and predicted weather patterns, which helps to guide operational plans and contingencies,” he said.

“There is no denying that Cape Town’s weather patterns have changed. A few years ago, we were staring down the barrel of a drought.

“In recent times, there’s been an increase in extreme weather warnings and episodes, like the lightning in April that resulted in numerous fires, damaging winds that accelerate the spread of fires, but also blown down roofs, trees and power lines, and even ocean surges, like the one last September that affected Gordon’s Bay and surrounds.

Premier Alan Winde and Anton Bredell, Western Cape MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs said proactive flood mitigation measures taken included early warning: weather bureau alerts/impact-based weather warnings and that funding had been allocated if needed.

“It is important to further note that national funding allocations should only be used for augmentation of municipal and sectoral funds following the reprioritisation of budgets and emergency repairs that the line functions must undertake.”

“The following National Disaster Grants have been set aside in the Division of Revenue Bill for the current financial year and are yet to be enacted and made available for allocation: Provincial disaster response grant– R149 345 million and municipal disaster response grant R378 342.”

They have also earmarked funding for high-risk areas.

“To this extent the Garden Route District has been allocated R7.5m which has been broken down into three financial years, namely R2.5m in the 2023/24 financial year, R2.5m in the 2024/25 f year and a final allocation of R2.5m in 2025/26,” the team said.

It’s been 10 months since three SA Navy officers died during a training exercise. Chief Admiral Lobese attributed the SAS Manthatisi tragedy to “Mother Nature” after a freak wave.

Prior to the tragedy, the SA Weather Service had indicated that the spring tide had been experienced in Cape Town, with high wave swells, damaging cars. homes, infrastructure and businesses.