City of Cape Town highlights earthquake readiness on International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
It was a show-and-tell commemoration of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on Wednesday, 16 October 2019, as the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management collaborated with a host of other agencies to display their capabilities in the event of an earthquake, particularly the various equipment that is used in scenarios such as structural collapse, urban search and rescue and major infrastructure damage.
While earthquakes are uncommon in the Western Cape, 2019 is the 50th commemoration of the 1969 Tulbagh-Ceres earthquake, which measured 6,3 on the Richter scale. Another earthquake was recorded in the Milnerton area in 1809.
“International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is an opportunity to take stock of the hazards that face communities, how these can be mitigated and our readiness to deal with such eventualities. One key aspect is ensuring the ongoing functioning of critical infrastructure during and after a disaster and also its durability to withstand the impact of disasters. So it is critical to ensure that places like schools, hospitals, multi-storey buildings and so forth are built to last by ensuring that location and hazard-appropriate planning regulations and building codes are enforced,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
Activities hosted by the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) in support of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction included:
• An exhibition of specialised equipment required in the event of a disaster like an earthquake (urban search and rescue, structural collapse, mobile Joint Operating Centre)
• A desktop exercise with a well-developed earthquake scenario including the major infrastructure sector departments addressing identified infrastructure challenges (to occur on Thursday 17 October 2019).
• Activities to commemorate the earthquakes in Tulbagh-Ceres and Milnerton
Some role players that were involved in the exercise and exhibition included emergency services from the Western Cape Provincial Government, NSRI, Neighbourhood Watches, Gift of the Givers, City of Cape Town Emergency Services and City Departments such as Water and Sanitation, Building and Development and Roads and Storm water.
In addition to ensuring resilient critical infrastructure and preparedness in the education and health spheres, the DRMC also partnered with the insurance industry to highlight what could go wrong when this infrastructure is not risk informed.
“Natural hazards are most dangerous when critical infrastructure fails, leading to injury and loss of life. We need to make sure we understand the risks and that our infrastructure is built to last. Reducing and managing the risk of disasters should be everybody’s business, from having a Family Disaster Preparedness Plan at your home, emergency plan at schools and community centres and facilities. The DRMC hosts regular exercises that simulate real life disasters and emergency situations. These exercises are important to test rapid response times, operational preparedness, increase alertness and give guidance to what roleplayers are supposed to do”, added Alderman Smith.
Source: Media Office, City of Cape Town