The department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, is intensifying its efforts aimed at enhancing the province’s ability to plan for and respond to disasters.
With the Provincial Disaster Management Centre and ten others in various District Municipalities constructed, the department is moving swiftly to equip the facilities with adequate resources and communication systems to operate efficiently and effectively.
After undertaking benchmarking exercises within the country, a team of disaster management experts led by MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, is currently undertaking a visit to the United States of America to cement partnerships with institutions such as the 911 Fund and benchmarking exercises to explore systems that are critical for early warning and quick responses in times of disasters. The visit is starting to bear fruits with the 911 Fund intending to donate and ship its second batch of equipment to manage disasters for the benefit of KwaZulu-Natal municipalities.
Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, held engagements with the County Executive of Rockland in New York City and Senior Executives of the 911 Fund. The delegations also visited various sites to observe communication systems utilised for early warning and responses during disasters such as hurricane Katrina, Sandy, snow, fires, floods and storms.
“We are growing wiser every time we exchange ideas and knowledge with our counterparts in the developed world. We have to invest strongly in awareness and prevention efforts in the short-term so that we can reap the benefits in the future through the prevention of unnecessary loss of life as a result of disaster incidents”; said Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
“This visit has enabled us to learn from those who have dealt with the most difficult of disaster situations. It is very exciting to observe the collaboration and integration in the communication systems and various interveners including humanitarian NGO. This exercise will allow us to introduce systems that will allow access to information by communities on large-scale when disasters such as floods, droughts and many others approach. Climate change is projected to increase the magnitude of extreme weather related events. We therefore need to build the culture of prevention by introducing systems and cutting edge technology and systems as part of our strategy for proactive disaster risk reduction strategy”; said Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
Rockland County Executive, Mr Ed Day applauded the partnership between KZN and the 911 Fund.
“We all share the same goal of safe communities. Working together offers us all an opportunity to strengthen our emergency response plans for the benefit of our citizens. We are happy to take our experience and lessons to South Africa and also to learn from their best practices. The goal now is to move forward so future disaster response efforts are handled in the most efficient manner possible” said County Executive Ed Day,
Issued by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. For any queries contact Msawakhe Mayisela 060 966 4220 or Mr Lennox Mabaso 082 884 2403.