UPDATE: Knysna in dire need of water, wind could reignite fire

2017-06-10 10:35 - Kavitha Pillay
Post a comment 0

Cape Town - With the weather forecast not looking good for firefighters guarding against flare-ups in the Garden Route on Saturday 10 June, Knysna continues to suffer the affects of the fatal fires since Wednesday evening, 7 June.

An estimated 10 people have lost their lives, including a three-year-old and a fire fighter, while some 10 000 have been left homeless following the worst storm in 30 years across the Western and Eastern Cape. See News24's coverageLIVE: #KnysnaFire contained, firefighter dies

The damage done to the Garden Route is being labelled a disaster zone in South Africa, and there is a nation-wide plea to continue to provide aid. 

SEE: #KnysnaFire: Urgent call for support of victims

The Western Cape’s tourism sector has pulled together in an effort to accommodate displaced travellers affected by this week's fires in the Garden Route, in which a total of 24 tourism establishments were damaged. See Traveller24's full story here.

SA Tourism is monitoring the progress of the wildfires and is in contact with emergency services as they continue to work around the clock. 

ALSO SEE: SA Tourism responds to devastating impact of #KnysnaFires

Stranded tourists or those who have made bookings in the Knysna area, are advised to contact the following numbers:

  • Ilze Jacobs, Tourism Safety and Support Unit: 082 972 2507
  • Ops Centre at Pelican Lodge: 044 343 3283
  • Sedgefield Tourism: 044 343 2007

Bottled water needed

Knysna Municipality has made an appeal on twitter for donations of bottled water and essentials that victims of the storm desperately require. "We require mattresses, sleeping bags, bottled water, sanitary products and toiletries specifically for the elderly," says the Municipality.

The municipality also advised on donations for firefighters:

Knysna Municipality warned the public to be aware of scam artists requesting relief donations. 

The Municipality also confirmed that the N2 between Buffalo Bay and Sedgefield Road is now open. Earlier on Saturday 10 June, as precautionary measure,  Buffalo Bay residents were evacuated towards beach area and Buffalo Bay Road was closed.

Fears strong winds could reignite #KnysnaFires

Over the weekend, the outlook for firefighters who continue to battle with blazes along the Garden Route and guard against flare-ups, does not look good according to SA Weather Service.

SA Weather Service spokesperson Garth Sampson says another cold front is approaching the region, and ahead of this cold front, "strong north-westerly winds are expected over the Eastern Cape" on Saturday 10 June.

"Considering the current fires in the Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan municipality, the public must be aware that fires could be reignited by the strong winds on Saturday. Thus conditions are favourable for the development of runaway fires."

SEE: UPDATE: More strong winds could reignite #KnysnaFires

"Gusts of up to 40-45 knots (80-90 km/h) are possible in places. These winds will again be warm Berg winds and are expected to be strongest between 11 am and 5 pm on Saturday 10 June," adds Sampson.

"The winds are expected to remain north-westerly through Saturday night in Port Elizabeth, but are expected to change to a strong south-westerly on Sunday 11 June as the cold front moves through."

Sampson says that "no rainfall is expected through Saturday and Sunday between Patensie and Port Elizabeth" and similar conditions are expected along the Garden Route.

Temperatures in the area for Saturday 10 June:

Port Elizabeth: 25°C

Uitenhage: 26°C

Patensie: 26°C

Plettenberg Bay: 22°C

Joubertina: 20°C

 

What to read next on Traveller24:

Cape Town Water Crisis: It will at least take three rainfalls to make a real difference

#CapeTownStorm: Tips for dealing with extreme weather

Weather Update: High fire danger along Garden Route + extreme conditions across parts of SA