Historically the West Coast is a very dry area and has been associated with droughts from early on.
Luckily provision has been made for additional water supply since 1992 when construction started with the Bitterfontein desalination plant.
Ironically during June 2007 and July 2008 the West Coast suffered severe flooding.
Three main pieces of legislation regulates Disaster Management in South Africa:
- The Disaster Management Act
- The National Framework on Disaster Management
- The Disaster Management Act Regulations
From these legislation subsequent policies were drawn up for the West Coast:
- The Disaster Management Risk Assessment
- The West Coast Disaster Management Framework
- The West Coast Disaster Management Plan
Disaster Management Risk Assessment
This assessment indicated the total risk for the West Coast District but also specific risks that are present within each B Municipality.
The SANS 31010 suggests that a risk assessment should be done every three years, thus a new assessment will be done shortly.
In the mean time new risks have surfaced which must still be accommodated in a new risk assessment:
- African Horse Sickness (the West Coast used to be a buffer zone)
- Rift Valley Fever (Slenkdalkoors) people died as well
- New Castle Disease
- Increase in urbanisation (Saldanha & Malmesbury according to the Spatial Development Framework)
- Wind farms
- Municipal elections
- Social Conflict
The Risk Assessment is a scientific process that needs to be executed by a group of knowledgeable members.
Disaster Management Framework
The West Coast Disaster Management Centre is in the process of updating the current Framework.
Disaster Management Plan
This document is the main document that the municipalities are using to guide them when drafting their Disaster Management Plans. The
B-municipalities have their own Disaster Management plans as well. From the Disaster Management Plan line function can draw up their own plans and from that their own Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s).
Disaster Management Centre
The West Coast Disaster Management Centre was opened in September 2008. The building is located in Moorreesburg. It provides a 24 hour call taking
and dispatch facility. An Organizational facility is also available that are used as a Joint Operation Centre (JOC) during disasters, but also as a venue for planning sessions outside disaster periods. A tactical facility is available as well as offices for various emergency services. The aim is to make it a one stop centre for all incident reporting.
In the centre is:
West Coast District Municipality: Disaster Management
Fire Brigade Services (6 stations)
Moorreesburg Fire Station is next door.
EMS: Call takers
Moorreesburg Ambulance station is next door Provincial Traffic: Officers
Although the other services are not represented in the Centre, e.g. Police and law enforcement, but close relations are kept with them via telephone, fax and meetings.
Any queries can be directed to the Head of the Centre, Suretha Visser, at 022 433 8700, West Coast Disaster Management Centre