The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s initial estimates is that the storm damage over the past week could cost the municipality in the region of R600 million, and that’s excluding any private claims, which could see the final tally run over a billion.
Speaking at a press conference this morning Mandela Bay mayor, Zanoxolo Wayile praised the hard working staff of the municipality for their dedication and commitment during the ongoing relief efforts throughout the city.
“The Joint Operations Centre of the municipality was open 24/7 to coordinate relief efforts and assistance in the way of transport, food, blankets and overnight accommodation,” he said.
“Most of our relief centres are still open, as the conditions at the homes of some of our flood victims have still not improved to allow for their safe return.”
Wayile said many people from the informal settlements around the municipality refused to be relocated and were still staying in their waterlogged shacks, out of fear that their belongings would be stolen if they were to evacuate.
“This has also created a situation where relief foodstuffs cannot be kept by these people for a long period of time,” he said.
Wayile said the preliminary assessment of of damages very clearly indicated massive damage to infrastructure.
“Our aging infrastructure definitely contributed to the extent of the flooding and in this regard we intend to leverage on the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission for a complete overhaul of our infrastructure and to ensure that we find alternative sources of funding for continued infrastructure maintenance.”
Wayile said at this early stage teams were still out in the field assessing the full extent of the damages.
“The impact on the municipal budget will be devastating,” he said.
Wayile said the municipality intended to approach the National Government to have the city declared a disaster area in order to access disaster funding. He said the extent of the funding requested would depend on a consolidated report of the final assessments.
A detailed assessment report will also be sent to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre and the National Disaster Management Centre within three months.
Acting executive director of Infrastructure and Engineering ,Walter Shaidi, said the cost of temporary repairs to roads and infrastructure would cost in the region of R45-million.
“This is for work that needs to be done as a matter of urgency and should be completed before Christmas,” he said.
Shaidi said temporary repairs for water and sanitation systems would cost in the region of R10-million, while the overall costs for permanent infrastructure repairs was estimated at R450 million.
Shaidi said the municipality was already embarking on repairs to critical areas using their own funds but were taking photographs so they could claim this back from disaster relief funding.
He said the municipality was currently redirecting funds already budgeted for projects in certain areas to be able to fund the work that needed to be done, but that the bulk of the funding would have to come from other sources.