SA Tourism responds to devastating impact of #KnysnaFires

2017-06-09 08:50
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Cape Town - South African Tourism is closely monitoring the progress of the wildfires that broke out in Knysna on Wednesday, 7 June, following severe weather conditions. South African Tourism is in contact with emergency services as they continue to work around the clock.

SA Tourism is working closely with the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), who have people on the ground in the affected areas who are assisting travellers and residents.

The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre is also in continued contact with resources on the ground battling the fires in the Knysna area.

SEE: #KnysnaFire: Urgent call for support of victims

There is a nation wide plea to provide aid. The damage done to Garden Route is being labelled a disaster zone in South Africa, leaving many homeless and shaken.

With about 80% of the fire line of the wildfires that have spread throughout the Garden Route contained, and some areas declared safe, officials and residents are focusing on mop-up operations and helping affected people. In addition to five deaths reported yesterday, News24 confirmed that a firefighter died today.

SEE: LIVE: #KnysnaFire contained, firefighter dies

Additional fire-fighting resources have been deployed to the area to assist the teams on the ground, these include 8 fire trucks from the City of Cape Town, 2 from the Overberg district and 12 additional working on fire teams. While some areas in the town have already been evacuated, there is currently no call for a mass evacuation of the entire Knysna area.

In addition to this, Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has set up an operations centre at Pelican Lodge through its partner, Safari and Tourism Insurance Brokers (SATIB). The emergency number for the centre is 0861 728 4248 for medical emergencies, reporting missing people and trauma counselling services.

SEE: UPDATE: Road closures, water shortage, power outage due to #KnysnaFire

Stranded tourists or those who have made bookings in the Knysna area, are also advised to contact Ilze Jacobs, Safety and Security Officer of the Eden District Municipality on 044 343 3283 or 082 9722 507.

“Our thoughts are with all the affected people at this time. We advise all travellers to please adhere to the warnings issued by emergency services,” says Sisa Ntshona, chief executive officer of South African Tourism.

What to read next on Traveller24:

Weather Update: Harsh conditions across most of SA with fire, drought and snow

#KnysnaFire: Urgent call for support of victims

UPDATE: Road closures, water shortage, power outage due to #KnysnaFire