Edited by Bev Mortimer
Eight households and 204 people of the Longmore village in the Kouga municipal area of the Eastern Cape have had no water since the past weekend.
And hundreds of millions of Rands worth of damage has been caused to the village by fires raging there since last week, according to an estimate cited by Kouga’ s Mayor, Elza van Lingen today, 14 June. She said the full extent of the fire damage has not yet been determined and the cost of this damage will be “immense”.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is the supplier of electricity to this village and surrounding farms. This Port Elizabeth municipality has been unable to restore electricity sooner owing to the extent of damage by fire to electrical infrastructure.
Van Lingen maintained that “a humanitarian crisis was brewing” at Longmore where damage was more extensive than anticipated. “The burnt line also supplies electricity to the Loerie Dam and pump stations, hence the interruption in the water supply.”
Kouga Municipality is carting water to the area and 25 mobile toilets were due to be delivered to the village today. Generators are being brought in to try to get pump stations up and running again.
The mayor said the municipality was collecting ready-made meals for 204 people of the village as it was difficult for them to make their own food. Around 60% percent of the Longmore Plantation and the saw mill burnt down.
She also 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.”
The Social Development and the Jeffreys Bay Trauma Centre staff were continuing with counselling support from the affected areas and 18 children have already received counselling.
The mayor asked non-profit organisations that work with poor communities to contact Sarah Hugo from the National Lottery at 086 006 5383 to find out 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.
The Engen garage in Humansdorp is also a drop-off point.