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Government ready to assist Eastern Cape flood victims, says Ramaphosa

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Johnathan Paoli

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government is ready to assist the victims and those who lost their homes following the recent floods in Kariega, Eastern Cape.

Ramaphosa was in the area on Friday and he assured the communities that the government won’t abandon them in their hour of need and was more than willing to help.

“This is very painful and I am very sorry that we have this situation. But I want to assure you that the government will walk this road with you,” he said.

The President confirmed that within 30 days, temporary housing would be provided for those who have lost their home and temporary shelter will be found for the displaced victims.

At least 10 people have lost their lives, with thousands displaced and an estimated R6 billion worth of infrastructure and housing damaged because of the floods.

Ramaphosa said all three levels of government as well as its departments were present on the scene to assist, due to the magnitude of the natural disaster.

“We, as government, are going to help those families where people have died and our social welfare department is going to support those families as much as we can and make sure that burials do happen,” Ramaphosa said.

The President thanked all the organisations that have been involved in helping the victims, including churches and the Gift of the Givers.

“We are grateful that we have our churches that have come through and helped the people. They are very good and move quickly when there are disasters. We are thankful to have an organisation like the Gift of the Givers,” he said.

Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said there were plans to relocate residents within the next two days, following the identification and handing over of land by the NMB metro.

She said in light of the challenges the city has been experiencing in terms of unauthorised land occupation, speedy measures have been undertaken.

“We have difficulties with land invasion. One of the issues is that we are already getting emergency court orders today so that no one invades land. I’m saying this upfront because we are going to evict you if you don’t go to the land we have identified,” the minister said.

Heavy rainfall in the province has hit areas in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City municipalities, with the floods, which has destroyed homes and schools, declared as a national disaster and mop-up operations continuing in the region.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality indicated on Thursday that the damages include destroyed water pipelines, flooded wastewater treatment facilities, damaged boundary walls, and harm to water, mechanical, and electrical equipment.

Additionally, several electrical substations and transformers wereblown out, while sports facilities also suffered damage due to the heavy rains.

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