The City of Johannesburg has promised the prompt restoration of power and water after the gas explosion on Lillian Ngoyi Street (formerly Bree Street) in the city centre.
The gas explosion, which occurred during the afternoon rush hour on Wednesday, caused significant damage to sections of Lillian Ngoyi Street. According to news24, the incident resulted in one fatality and 48 injuries, leaving residents without essential utilities since then.
During a briefing on Friday, Johannesburg’s city manager, Floyd Brink, confirmed that gas was the cause of the explosion. The City’s emergency management services team has diligently used positive-pressure ventilation fans to blow out trapped gas in the underground system. Brink assured the public that the tunnels would be gas-free by Monday, enabling the restoration of electricity.
To address the needs of affected residents, Johannesburg Water has deployed 25 chemical toilets, five stationary tanks, and four roaming water tankers. Additionally, the Disaster Management and Social Development teams are coordinating efforts to provide warm meals for residents who cannot cook without electricity.
Amidst the efforts to recover from the disaster, humanitarian organisations like Meals on Wheels have been actively distributing meals to residents. The organisation has supplied 600 meals daily since Friday, offering much-needed relief to those impacted by the explosion.
As technicians continue to assess the safety of buildings and infrastructure, tall residential buildings have been declared safe. However, caution remains paramount, as technicians were observed at the blast site using specialised equipment to map the tunnel beneath the road. They welded shut several maintenance holes securely to prevent any potential infrastructure theft.
While the gas clearance is underway, the City warns against entering the site due to the ground’s instability. From the night of the blast to the present day, the holes in the ground have widened, posing the risk of potential road collapse. Law enforcement officials have managed access to the area to ensure public safety.
As investigations into the incident continue, Johannesburg focuses on restoring essential services and ensuring the safety of residents and workers involved in recovery efforts.
Picture: Twitter / buhlembhele_
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