Knysna counts the fire cost

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS -

more than 440 prop­er­ties had been gut­ted in the epi­cen­tre of the dis­as­ter. It is be­lieved a fur­ther 200 in­for­mal struc­tures had been de­stroyed and about 30 homes in Plet­ten­berg Bay.

Kirsten said there was no time­line for the process to be com­pleted.

Mean­while, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had started reg­is­ter­ing those af­fected. “This would be any­one who suf­fered any form of dam­age.”

Kirsten said res­i­dents were be­ing asked to com­plete a sur­vey and in­clude their losses. The sur­vey is avail­able on the munci­pal­ity’s web­site and so­cial me­dia pages and has been avail­able at the var­i­ous re­lief drop-off points.

“Once the SANParks teams have com­pleted their as­sess­ment, we will cross ref­er­ence their data with ours and we will then not only have a clear pic­ture of the scale of the dam­age, but also know ex­actly what the needs of each res­i­dent are.”

Man­ual said from a fire­fight­ing per­spec­tive, they too had started count­ing the costs of what has been dubbed “the big­gest dis­as­ter res­cue op­er­a­tion in South African his­tory”.

“The costs are ex­pected to be vast as it will in­clude any­thing from ac­com­mo­da­tion for the fire­fight­ers who have come from across the coun­try to as­sist to fuel costs of the ve­hi­cles and the air­craft, not to men­tion the man­power.”

He said the bill was ex­pected to be mil­lions of rands.

James-Brent Styan, spokesper­son for MEC An­ton Bre­del, agreed the Knysna fire was the big­gest the coun­try had ex­pe­ri­enced.

He said about 10 000 peo­ple had been evac­u­ated.

There had been se­vere dam­age to com­mu­ni­ca­tion, elec­tric­ity, wa­ter and sewage, roads and schools and the eco­nomic en­gine of the town.

Mean­while, the av­er­age dam lev­els across the prov­ince are at 20%, which he said was still bad.

“The sit­u­a­tion re­mains un­changed,” said Styan.

Knysna mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies said be­side the loss of houses, there had been ma­jor dam­age to in­fra­struc­ture and busi­nesses.

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