Ficksburg victims overwhelmed with compassion


IOL news oct 4 SA  PN Ficksburg Tornado7

INLSA

03/2011 A window frame was the only thing left standing at Dikeledi Molotsane's home after a tornado tore through their Meqheleng Zone 8 informal settlement near Ficksburg. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Food and building material from people and businesses were pouring into Ficksburg on Tuesday for tornado victims left homeless this week.

“It was just awesome to experience the help coming in from the community,” said Johan Janssonius, a spokesman at the Ficksburg disaster and distribution centre.

The centre was operating from the NG Kerk in Ficksburg.

Janssonius said the centre provided food to 470 people.

A tornado hit the town around 2am on Monday killing a nine-year-old boy and injuring 42 people. About 122 RDP houses and shacks were destroyed.

Janssonius said a flood of food items from the community and surrounding towns kept pouring in on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have a need list and when we want meat for the food parcels, the word goes out and the community just keeps on giving,” he said.

“The help comes in wave after wave.”

Several trucks from businesses outside Ficksburg with building material, maize and other food items had stopped at the disaster centre.

Various Ficksburg businesses had also helped with blankets and food since shortly after the tornado struck the town.

Free State emergency medical services manager Ruben Ruiters said the emergency plan was starting to run smoothly on Tuesday.

Most victims were accommodated in schools, churches and community halls, and tried to salvage their personal belongings during the day.

“The people were working together and in a disciplined manner.”

Setsoto municipal spokesman Thabo Mokoena said the municipality's executive committee would meet on Wednesday to plan the rebuilding of the damaged infrastructure and houses.

Mokoena said a site had been identified where temporary housing structures would be erected.

He said the Free State department of social development had provided 1000 blankets for the homeless victims. - Sapa


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