Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Recovery plans are well under way to restore the Moravian mission station at Wupperthal in the Western Cape, with extraordinary efforts being implemented to restore the town following last Sunday's devastating fire, the Moravian Church of Southern Africa said.

"Yesterday [Friday] a meeting took place in Wupperthal that was attended by various church leaders, the community leadership, officials from West Coast district municipality, councillors, and officials from Cederberg municipality," the church said in a statement on Saturday.

The meeting was also attended by officials and experts from the national and provincial government departments that took key decisions to implement recovery and rehabilitation plans in the aftermath of the fire, it said.

The electricity supply and reticulation were restored late on Friday afternoon with the assistance of the electricity departments of the Cederberg and Matzikama municipalities.

The Moravian Church had consequently also restored the water and sanitation services to the town managed by the church that was dependent on the restoration of the electricity supply. The cellphone repeater servicing the Wupperthal Mission Station had also been completely restored to the town.

An agreement was reached on Friday and approval had been obtained from the Moravian Church, including the affected homeowners, that the gutted buildings be demolished in the interest of public safety, as the extent of the damage was severe and beyond repair according to the assessments conducted by professional structural engineers.

Western Cape education department head Brian Schreuder had granted approval for the commencement of the school to be delayed by one week due to the demolition and recovery work that would be taking place in the coming week. The T-courts would be converted into hostels for scholars and emergency funding had been applied for, as the school hostels had been completely destroyed.

The Western Cape human settlements department had conducted assessments on the need for emergency housing for the fire victims. A suitable site had been identified within Wupperthal and spatial planning and design efforts were under way. The Cederberg municipality was procuring and would provide a tent and temporary toilets for the emergency housing site, the statement said.

African News Agency/ANA