11 February 2011
The government has set aside R800-million for the immediate relief of communities that were caught up in the recent flooding across the country, President Jacob Zuma told Parliament on Thursday.
Delivering his State of the Nation address to a joint sitting of Parliament in Cape Town, Zuma said the floods had not only left thousands of damaged homes but also taken the lives of over 50 people and led to 33 district municipalities being declared as disaster areas.
“We will also be earmarking funding to deal with post-disaster recovery and reconstruction in the years ahead,” Zuma said as he thanked relief agencies, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, religious organisations and communities for assisting those in need.
Last week, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said Cabinet had noted the impact of the floods and re-affirmed its commitment to providing assistance and support to the affected communities.
Chabane said the National Disaster Management Centre was monitoring the situation countrywide and providing regular reports to a special inter-ministerial committee set up to co-ordinate the government’s flood response.
This was in addition to a 24-hour operations room that had been reactivated to ensure that the government and the public were kept up to date on the floods and their aftermath.
On Monday, the National Disaster Management Centre began a series of visits to affected areas countrywide, with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs leading a team of government officials from various departments, to access the impact of the floods.
A consolidation of initial assessments by various provinces put the cost of the damages at well over R1-billion. Following the government delegation’s visits, engineers will begin to verify the provincial assessments.