Media Statement: Government must relieve storm-affected communities in OR Tambo District!
For Immediate Release
19 November 2020
The Eastern Cape C-19 Peoples’ Coalition is appalled that the government has abandoned the people of Mthatha, Mbizana, Ntabankulu, Libode and surrounding areas in the OR Tambo District to face the aftermath of Tuesday’s tornado and killer storm alone.
The storm killed at least three people, injured 50 others and damaged and destroyed livestock, crops, houses and equipment in more than 20 villages. Hail stones the size of tennis balls fell. There are hundreds of dead cows, sheep and goats strewn across the ground of the area.
Many families’ wealth is held in livestock and unlike commercial farmers they do not have disaster insurance. The storm has wiped out the small survival margin accumulated over many years.
Access to clean water is a challenge, with possible risk of water-borne diseases as a result of unattended animal carcasses.
Community based organisations have reported not seeing a single government official since the storm on Tuesday. We believe that several disaster relief teams should have already arrived on the scene and begun clean up operations and given the residents some indication about how they will help replace their lost crops and animals.
Matric learners who are writing exams have not been able to get to school and there is nobody from the provincial education department who has assisted them.
It is the third day that several communities have been left without any electricity.
We have been informed that Gift of the Givers has begun a 6-hour drive to reach the affected communities – once again, it is charities and NPOs coming to our aid, stepping in in the absence of an appropriate government response to disaster.
The C-19 Peoples’ Coalition demands that the government takes action now, directs resources to immediately help the people of the OR Tambo district, and assists with cleaning up and repairing the whole area.
Issued by the C-19 People’s Coalition
Tembakazi Peter, Farmers Network South Africa – 073 847 7082
Cynthia Ndatha – 063 719 9925
Fundiswa Ndlela, Oxfam – 073 447 6444
Nicole Collier-Naidoo, EC C19 Peoples Coalition – 082 838 8659