South Africa : City urges public to help rebuild Soweto

By Emily Visser

Johannesburg - The most urgent need in flood-hit Soweto is for food, clothing and blankets, according to an assessment by the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS).

While Joburg will be spending R350-million to clean up and reconstruct the damage, it has asked its partners and the private sector to come on board and help its relief efforts.

"The City of Johannesburg requests any assistance that can be provided from its partners in government, business and other private sector companies, NGOs and all citizens to lend a hand in restoring the lives of our fellow residents in the affected communities," Executive Mayor Amos Masondo said in a statement.

Reconstruction would include re-erecting signage, storm water drainage systems and road resurfacing, reports

So far, 385 households are receiving humanitarian aid, mostly in the form of food parcels and blankets.

According to Percy Morokane, the acting communications manager for the EMS, Jozi FM will broadcast from Meadowlands Zone 10 on Sunday.

On the day, mattresses, beds, biscuits and other relief material will be distributed through the EMS disaster management centre in Jabulani.

Mr Morokane also confirmed that the search and recovery operation for the two missing people had been called off by the South African Police Service on Wednesday.

According to the EMS, some of the items needed include general clothing; school uniforms and school books; food and household furniture; beds, mattresses and linen; appliances; roofing materials; doors; glass panes; cement and building bricks and blocks.

Several areas affected by the flash floods on 26 February - in which one person died and two others, including a baby, are missing - have been declared disaster areas by the city.

The greatest damage was caused in Soweto, where over 300 people from Dobsonville, Kliptown, Dube, Zondi, Meadowlands, Mfolo South, Mmesi Park, Bram Fischerville and the Chris Hani Chicken Farm had homes extensively damaged and personal possessions lost in the flood.

Other areas affected include Alexandra, Ivory Park, Orange Farm and North Riding. These areas have also now been declared disaster areas in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

The city has opened a special disaster relief account:

Company name: City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality
Project name: City of Johannesburg Disaster Fund
Domicile branch: Absa Corporate and Business Banking Services
Account number: 407 357 5353
Clearing code: 331-155

For enquiries and for donations to be collected, contact Nongezo Mekgwe on 082 331 7857. The city's dedicated disaster phone line will also operate as usual for this purpose on (011) 375-5920.

A close-out project report will be made public on all the resources disbursed during the relief effort. - BuaNews