‘Prepare for disasters in 2010!’

25/11/2009 at 16:23 6 comments


Without anticipating a potential disaster during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Western Cape’s 2010 health planning unit has warned emergency services, civilians, visitors and enterprizes to be ready for disasters at all times.

According to Dr Wayne Smith, who heads the unit, the possibility of a disaster – such as crash landings, stampedes, bombings, and widespread violence – is far greater  during the World Cup than for previous sporting events that were hosted by South Africa.

He spoke during a panel discussion at the World Conference on Disasters and Emergency Medicine, which took place in Cape Town from November 23 – 27, 2009.

Smith stressed that emergency services, and in particular medics, will have to be permanently on stand by, underlining that it was  dangerous for authorities  to be over confident in South Africa’s medical ability to deal with disasters. He said that the fact that there were no incidents during the Rugby and Cricket World Cups which South Africa hosted in the past, did not mean the World Cup Soccer will run as smoothly.

“A soccer World Cup is a completely different environment with far more risks,” he said. “If we look at the history of football tournaments, we see that a lot of deaths and injuries have been recorded. A lot of people follow soccer, and lives are often lost if the correct measures are not taken.”

“Alcohol abuse will be one of the main risk factors,” he added. “But we are preparing for medical emergencies and disasters of any kind.”

In the meantime, South African authorities are preparing themselves when it comes to crime and the 2010 world cup: 50.000 extra cops are being trained as we speak, specifically for 2010. Secondly, South Africa is to set up 54 special courts to efficiently deal with crimes committed during the 2010 World Cup.

Source: Cape Argus

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