The Wupperthal Moravian Mission Station in the Western Cape will be closed from Monday as preparations begin to demolish sections of the historical mission that suffered severe fire damage on December 30, the Moravian Church of Southern Africa said.
Plant equipment and machinery was being brought in to commence the demolition work.
“Control post has been established to restrict access to the historical mission station as heavy plant and machinery moves in to commence with demolition work,” Wilfred Johannes, disaster coordinator and spokesperson for Wupperthal Fire Disaster and Moravian Church of Southern Africa, said in a statement.
The historical mission station suffered severe damage in a devastating fire that swept through the town in the last week of December, destroying 53 homes and eight buildings.
“The police authorities established a control post that will only permit emergency and essential vehicles and residents access and egress to the town. Strict control measures will be implemented and motorists including tourists are encouraged to avoid visiting the town or to make use of the roads to minimise disruption on the nearby roads,” said Johannes.
The measures have been implemented to isolate and restrict access in the interest of public safety and also to ensure that authorities can swiftly and safely demolish the gutted buildings.
Johannes said only residents of the town and emergency and essential vehicles would be given access to the town.
“Strict control measures will be implemented and motorists including tourists are encouraged to avoid visiting the town or to make use of the roads to minimise disruption on the nearby roads,” said Johannes.
Johannes added that the Western Cape social development would be deploying social workers to the disaster area. The Moravian Church of Southern Africa has also called in its clergy from different congregations across South Africa to help with counselling.
“This is part of the psycho-social programme to support the disaster victims that will witness the painful demolition of their homes and where their last remaining memory of their livelihood will be destroyed. The support programme also aims to put in place a plan for the people to restore their lives in the aftermath of the disaster and to rise from the ashes,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)