Prompted by the widespread destruction caused by fires that have been burning in the region since Wednesday (7 June), the Kouga Council declared a Local State of Disaster yesterday afternoon.
The declaration, made at a special meeting at Jeffreys Bay, will now be promulgated in the Provincial Gazette.
This will allow the municipality to apply for additional funding from provincial and national government so as to address the impact of the fires on the local infrastructure and communities.
Two hot spots are still burning in the Kouga region. These are in the vicinity of Loerie and Crossways.
There is no immediate danger to property. “We are grateful to the local farming community who has also been helping with mop-up operations in these areas,” said Mayor Elza Van Lingen.
About 50% (roughly 10 500ha) of the Longmore Plantation has burnt down. A total of 110 fire-fighters are still fighting fires in the plantation.
ROAD SAFETY AND ANIMALS
Motorists are cautioned to reduce their speeds when travelling along the N2 and R102 in the vicinity of Van Stadens and Thornhill.
Visibility has been poor, especially along the R102 in the vicinity of Thornhill.
Many animals, both livestock and wildlife, have also been wandering onto the roads because fencing either burnt out or had to be cut so that the animals could escape from the fire.
Sanrail has been asked to put up temporary road signs to warn motorists.
ELECTRICITY: THORNHILL AND LONGMORE
Nelson Mandela Bay Metro was able to restore the electricity supply to Thornhill yesterday and has undertaken to have the power restored to Longmore by Wednesday.
Trauma counselling is being offered to residents affected by the fire through the Department of Social Development and Jeffreys Bay Trauma centre.
“We are very grateful to everyone for the donations and support that have been streaming in since the crisis started on Wednesday.
We have sufficient supplies for affected communities at present.
We also have enough prepacked meals for fire-fighters at present, but will send out an alert should there be any further requirements,” added Mayor Van Lingen.
Photo: Dirk Erasmus