WC Agriculture evaluates fire damage in Southern Cape

A task team is conducting site visits in the Eden District to determine the extent of damage to farming communities.

FILE: Volunteer ground crew in clean-up operations in one of Knysna’s plantation forests. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Agriculture Department is assessing fire damage in the Southern Cape.

A task team is conducting site visits in the Eden District to determine the extent of damage to farming communities.

Officials say primary focus areas will be rebuilding infrastructure and providing animal feed.

The provincial Agriculture Department has rolled out a comprehensive analysis and response plan to mitigate the impact of the Eden District fires.

Officials have availed R5.5 million to assist disaster relief efforts.

Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde says boosting the local economy is a critical focus point.

“We are just trying to make sure that we mitigate wherever we can. Agriculture is a key part of our economy and specifically our rural economy.”

Meanwhile, Fire Chief Clinton Manuel says Knysna firefighters attended to hotspots on Wednesday.

“We’ve decided to throw a few buckets of water at Baffulo Bay with a helicopter and we’ve got ground crews there as well.”

Over 600 structures in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay have been destroyed.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)