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KZN unveils R3m Disaster centre

By Mhlaba Memela | Oct 28, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for local government and traditional affairs Nomusa Dube has put plans in place to save the lives of poor people from future disasters.

Yesterday Dube officially opened a R3 million satellite multi-purpose disaster management centre in Umzinto in the Ugu district municipality.

Similar centres are expected to be rolled out in other areas of the province.

This development comes in the wake of crippling disasters that took place between June and September last year when wild fires left a trail of destruction estimated at R200million, killing about 30 people.

The fires were followed by severe floods that led to the death of 25 people and damaged property to the cost of more than R2,5billion.

Dube said the satellite multipurpose disaster management centre would serve a number of communities, including the farming community.

"We are only starting, but more of such centres will soon be unveiled in others parts of the province as the department embarks on decentralising disaster management centres so that they are within immediate reach of the people," she said.

Dube said disaster management was everybody's business.

"Each one has to adopt certain roles and responsibilities.

"I would like to encourage all municipalities in the province to properly plan for disaster management," Dube said.

"Municipalities must allocate enough resources for the function, implement disaster management programmes on community awareness and initiate a process of recruiting volunteers to assist in the event of a major disaster.

"As government alone we cannot meet the demands and challenges facing the communities."

Dube said her department had provided funds to assist the district and the local municipality to establish the fire, emergency and disaster management centre as a shared service.

The centre was designed to accommodate administrative offices for fire and disaster management personnel, parking for fire and emergency vehicles and a storage area for emergency relief stock.

The centre will be operational for 24 hours and will service communities in the Umdoni, Vulamehlo and uMzumbe local municipalities.

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