A humanitarian crisis is brewing at the Longmore village where residents have been without electricity and water since the weekend.
Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said 80 households were affected by the service interruption, caused by fire damage to electrical infrastructure.
“Longmore is situated in the Kouga region, but Nelson Mandela Bay is the supply authority for electricity. The Metro had hoped to have the power restored by today, but the damage was more extensive than anticipated,” she said.
“The burnt line also supplies electricity to the Loerie Dam and pump stations, hence, the interruption in the water supply.”
She said Kouga Municipality was carting water to the area and that 25 mobile toilets were being delivered to the village today. Generators are being brought in to try and get the pump stations up and running again.
“We are also collecting ready-made meals for the 204 people of the village because it has been difficult for them to make their own food.”
She said the full extent of the fire damage had not yet been determined but that early estimates put it at hundreds of millions of rands.
“Sixty percent of the Longmore Plantation, as well as the saw mill, burnt down. The cost of this damage will be immense.”
Van Lingen said the Department of Social Development was working with local farmers and farming associations to assess the damage to farms in the area.
“We are concerned that hundreds of farm workers are going to be without work. It could take as long as three years or more for affected farmers to rebuild what they have lost.”
She said Social Development and the Jeffreys Bay Trauma Centre were continuing with counselling support. Eighteen children from the affected areas have already received counselling.
She appealed to non-profit organisations that work with poor communities to contact Sarah Hugo from the National Lottery at 086 006 5383 to see how they can assist those traumatised and affected by the fire.
Ready-made meals can be dropped off at the Thornhill Hotel, the Kouga Municipal offices at 33 Da Gama Road, Jeffreys Bay, or at the Kouga Fire Department on the entry road to Humansdorp from the N2.