UPDATE: Extensive #Knysnafires damage to exceed R4bn, relief efforts continue

2017-06-13 08:12 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - The iconic Garden Route town of Knysna is focusing all its efforts on assessing the damage and putting a recovery plan in place.  

The full extent of the damage caused by the recent fatal fires is expected to exceed R4 billion, according to the Cape Chamber.

The Chamber estimates that the full extent of the fire damage is most likely worth billions more than R4bn - if both insured and uninsured properties are taken into account. 

Long-term damage to many industries

Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber says, "The only consolation is that the insurance pay-outs represent money being put to work in the Western Cape economy and that will mean work and jobs in the building industry and their supply chains. Most of the repair and rebuilding work will be done by small businesses."

"Unfortunately there will also be long-term damage to many industries such as our vital tourist industry," says Myburgh. See Fin24’s full report here.

Last week some 24 accommodation establishments had been affected with Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities saying  The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) has been fully briefed on the damage. The JAMMS is assisting to coordinate response plans.” See full report here

Currently the  Knysna Municipality is calling all those affected to participate in a survey here to fully gauge the extent of the damage. SANparks is also assisting with a GSI mapping of the fire damaged caused - read more here.

Assess the full impact on tourism

Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa also offered her condolences to the families and friends of the people who died in the fires and says the immediate priority was to provide for the homeless and destitute, to restore essential services to the area, and to ensure that tourists are safe and accommodated.

“Once the situation has been stabilised and these urgent priorities have been addressed, we will need to assess the full impact on tourism facilities and attractions in the region, as tourism is a key contributor to our economy.

“Given the seriousness of the situation, a task team consisting of tourism role-players representing the local associations and the Department of Tourism must be assembled to consider suitable measures and interventions. This should be done in consultation with the Provincial department to ensure efficacy,” says DA MP James Vos.

Public feedback meetings to be held

The Knysna Municipality says the Relief Management Team will capture all details onto the official database to process.  Alternatively, residents may register at the Knysna Municipal Finance Building, Clyde Street.

Those affected by the fire can also attend one of the public feedback meetings to be held on Tuesday, 13 June at the following locations posted by the municipality:

15:00- Brenton-Brenton Community Hall

15:30- Belvidere-Belvidere Church

16:00 Knysna Town area (Venue to be confirmed by 10am)

17:00 Frams@Totties- Totties (to be confirmed by 10am )

18:00 Chirs Nissan & Concordia - Chris Nissan

Knysna Municipality posted on Monday evening saying that the while the fires are contained, the situation is ongoing. The Municipality says it is extremely grateful to the 1 109 fire personnel and their logistical staff that have assisted with these fires.

“Knysna Municipality would also like to remember those firefighters who sadly lost their lives during this tragic event and would like to contribute to a final farewell as befitting a hero. Thank you for your understanding of the matter.”

What to read next on Traveller24:

#HopeForKnysna: Garden Route events, sites and experiences not to miss

#KnysnaFire: Oyster Fest, Cycle Tour and Marathon going ahead, damage to be assessed