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By Devina Haripersad

Senior Business/Finance journalist

Climate change forces WC government to invest R17 million in facility to fight natural disasters

Premier Winde says that with natural disasters becoming more frequent due to climate change, disaster management systems in the city need to change.

Over the years in Roberston, the Langeberg Local Municipality has relied on a single satellite fire station based in Ashton to service five towns and neighbouring farms.

But as climate change has become more and more of a tangible reality, the Western Cape MEC for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, said that the increase in natural disasters in the region has left them no choice but to invest in a facility that will be able to handle the scale of the natural disasters that they are now seeing in the region.

ALSO READ: Firefighters battle another wildfire in Western Cape’s Boland region

The department has thus invested R17 million for the building of a new fire station.

Disaster management system

“With natural disasters becoming more frequent due to climate change, we must continuously build on our disaster management system,” Premier Alan Winde said at the opening of the fire station.

The facility’s machine bay will accommodate up to six fire engines.

According to the Western Cape government, in 2015 South Africa recorded its lowest annual rainfall since 1904. In the same year, Cape Town also recorded its highest temperature in the last 100 years at 42°C, the lack of rain and abnormally high temperatures ended up contributing to some of the worst fires the city has seen.

ALSO READ: Cape Town residents told to secure roofs, as wind wreaks havoc and spreads deadly fires

Collaboration is essential

“The current summer fire season has shown us the importance of this, as well as the need to strengthen partnerships. With the impact of climate change evident all around us, improved collaboration is essential. We are reminded of this with the mass power outage that hit the Central Karoo, Garden Route district, and Overberg,” Winde said.

“This is a significant investment in saving lives and property and will further bolster our province’s overall efforts to respond more effectively to disasters,” he added.

Meanwhile, earlier on Monday morning, three people lost their lives in a fire that destroyed six homes in Fisantekraal, Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town previously said it documented 13 087 fire incidents between October and January.

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