South Africa: Govt Coordinates Jagersfontein Disaster Response

A multidisciplinary team was on Sunday dispatched to Jagersfontein, Free State, following the burst of an abandoned mine in the area.

The burst saw significant damage inflicted on infrastructure, personal property and homes. While media reports initially said three people were killed in the disaster, the Free State government this morning revised the death toll to one.

Jagersfontein is in the Kopanong Local Municipality in the Xhariep District Municipality.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, expressed sadness at the incident, which occurred at about 6am on Sunday.

The ministry said there was extensive damage in and around the community of Charlesville in Jagersfontein, which has negatively impacted the community.

“Some people are displaced, others lost property, whilst others are reported injured and missing,” the ministry said.

CoGTA said the multi-disciplinary team deployed to the area consists of the South African Police Service, emergency medical services, health, disaster management, social development, search and rescue personnel and engineers from the mine.

At the scene, personnel conducted search, rescue, immediate relief and stabilisation operations.

CoGTA spokesperson, Lungi Mtshali, said: “The reports received thus far are that the flow of the water has ceased and the immediate threat is being stabilised.

“The injured persons have been provided with on-scene emergency medical care and are being transported to local hospitals. Assessments are underway to identify and account for all residents of the affected area.”

Mtshali said the National Disaster Management Centre is coordinating with the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) and other stakeholders to ensure that assistance is rendered as required.

“The NDMC has deployed staff members to the affected area to assess the damage and impact, and provide direct operational support. The Minister urges the deployed teams to do everything required to lessen the negative impact the incident has on communities.”

Dlamini Zuma expressed appreciation for the role played by the provincial leadership led by the Premier in providing support and assistance to the affected communities.

The Minister also urged communities to remain calm, and urged those unaffected people in Jagersfontein, who are able to lend a hand to those negatively affected by the incident, to do so.

“The media and the community will be regularly apprised of the latest developments on the ground,” Mtshali said.

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