Seminar to take stock of rebuilding
The June 2017 Knysna fires marked the most severe natural disaster in recent memory. For months Knysna and surrounds were smouldering, with dazed and traumatised citizens of all walks of life picking up the pieces, as resources to assist the destitute poured in from institutions all over the country.
To take stock of the extent to which the area has recovered, an environmental seminar will be held on 6 and 7 June at the Brenton-on-Sea community hall, hosted by the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) and partners, Knysna Municipality, the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative (GRRI), SCFPA, Eden District Municipality and Nelson Mandela University.
What has been achieved?
One of the critical tasks of the GRRI was the compilation of management plans as well as several costing proposals to national government, to access disaster management funding streams. The GRRI comprises several work streams aimed at rebuilding a better Knysna and restoring the surrounding environment, but it is now essentially dormant, says Meiring.
"The private sector was the fastest to react. The Knysna Business Fund was up and running in no time. The GRRI Environmental Work Stream receives bridging funding through this fund to do most of the erosion control and invasive alien plant management, with the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association as implementing agent. The end of this funding cycle is however imminent, and much environmental restoration work still needs to be done in coming years."
He says that, with government wheels slow to turn, few of the funding requests to national government have borne fruit, and to date, they have not received clarity on the prospects of the requests being approved.
Speakers at the seminar will include Dr Mmaphaka Tau of National Disaster Management, who will be discussing disaster management in South Africa; Gerhard
Otto of Eden District Municipality, who will speak about disaster management in Eden; and Dr Tineke Kraaij of the Natural Resource Management at NMU, who will speak about fire restoration from a conservation perspective. Other speakers will discuss the socio-economic impact of the disaster as well as the consolidation of the collaborative efforts of the GRRI.
To attend, contact Cobus Meiring on
083 626 7619 / firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 25 May.
In less than a month from now, the Knysna community and government structures will be taking stock of the extent to which it has recovered from the disaster.