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Cape Town moves displaced people to safer shelters

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 19 Jun 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

To ensure the safety of those displaced by the attacks on people from other countries, the City of Cape Town has decided to move them from the temporary shelters in Soetwater, Kommetjie to Blue Waters.

The relocation comes after rainy weather that hit the province this week making conditions unpleasant at the shelters.

There were also reports of violence within the camp which was housing 13 000 of the 20 000 displaced people in the Western Cape.

"The overall aim is to reduce the number of people in the safety sites which the city is managing. This will help ease the management pressures of the sites," said the city on Wednesday.

The Blue Waters site has additional capacity and is closer to residential and commercial areas. The area is also more sheltered from the high winds that have been blowing over the past few days.

"Disaster risk teams from the province and the city are also on alert for bad weather, winds and rain predicted for the next three days," said the city, adding that as from the weekend there will be a joint disaster operations centre.

Further it said action was taken in terms of reintegration, safety, security and repatriation.

Through the reallocation, the city hopes that the numbers of displaced people living in specific temporary shelters will be reduced, which will allow for easy management.

The shelters, which were introduced as an emergency measure after the outbreak of violent attacks, were not intended for longer term occupation.

Government aims to re-integrate displaced people back into communities within two months.

Meanwhile, international agencies such as the UNHCR, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders, the Red Cross, UNICEF and other South African NGOs have been working with the South African government to ensure that the shelters comply with minimum international standards.

The basic services provided at the shelters include access to water, sanitation, electricity, fencing, security, bedding, food and medical services.

Doctors and nurses are administering the medical treatments. Protocols have been developed for the humanitarian organisation, Doctors without Borders, and Provincial Government, to enable them to administer medical treatments.

Several institutions as well as communities have made donations to assist with procurement of non-governmental services such as clothing, food and toiletries to maintain basic hygiene. - BuaNews

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