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Massive relief efforts needed to assist stricken KZN residents

Gift of the Givers is assisting communities across KwaZulu-Natal who have been affected by Monday night’s heavy rain and flooding. Picture: Gift of the Givers via Facebook

Gift of the Givers is assisting communities across KwaZulu-Natal who have been affected by Monday night’s heavy rain and flooding. Picture: Gift of the Givers via Facebook

Published Apr 14, 2022

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DURBAN - MASSIVE relief efforts are needed to assist displaced communities and tackle extensive infrastructure damage across KwaZulu-Natal.

This is according to Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, who said the needs were “huge”.

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Sooliman said the organisation’s teams were busy with on-site assessments to identify areas with severe damage and to avoid duplication of efforts.

“We are awaiting reports from team members in Stanger, South Coast and JOC (Joint Operations Centre) Disaster Management. The national SAPS and provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mkhwanazi’s office are in communication with us to provide any support required,” he said.

Sooliman said the organisation was currently in oThongathi where there was substantial destruction.

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Picture: Gift of the Givers via Facebook

He added that roads, bridges, drainage and public infrastructure were a governmental responsibility, however the organisation may consider repairs to schools and health infrastructure.

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“Private homes and businesses should be covered by insurance companies, while it’s the informal settlements, houses in low-lying locations and the non-insured that are dependent on a compassionate nation to assist them.”

He said hot meals, blankets, bottled water, warm clothes, sanitary pads and nappies were the initial items that were needed to assist the indigent who had lost their possessions.

Food parcels, school uniforms and stationery would be provided where the need arose, while building material would be considered, he added.

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“The need of the hour is huge with massive damages to roads, highways … religious institutions as well as many homes have been damaged, electrical infrastructure is non-functional, people have lost their lives,” said Sooliman.

Sooliman said the organisation had been receiving calls since Tuesday night from corporates wanting to support stricken communities.

“With all our troubles, frictions and challenges this is indeed an incredible country where the spirit of ubuntu always takes centre stage and reigns supreme,” he said.

In Isipingo, the community came together to assist the families in the Crab City area that was most affected as well as those from the Dakota informal settlement which was destroyed.

Isipingo Business Forum chairperson and member of the Isipingo Beach safety and Civic Committee, Junaid Iqbal, said Isipingo Beach was cut off from other areas due to the flooding and no one was able to get in to assist.

He said the community of Isipingo

Beach helped each other and helped rescue others.

“No external help came at all although numerous calls were made, it was life and death situations,” he said.

He said they were forced to use sea boats, which are not designed for this type of situation, to rescue people.

While most of the people from the formal sector were taken in by members of the community, the Isipingo Beach Primary School was being used to house some from this sector and 450 from the informal sector, he said.

According to Iqbal, the Al-Imdaad Foundation managed to use a helicopter on Tuesday to bring in medication and blankets.

Meanwhile, the private sector has stepped in to offer assistance.

Shoprite said it had dispatched three of its mobile soup kitchens to bring relief to affected communities.

Vodacom said it had donated R3 million to the Gift of the Givers towards relief efforts.

As part of their relief efforts, Distell Southern Africa said it had provided R100 000 donation to Gift of the Givers and the first consignment of food parcels, toiletries and blankets arrived at shelters in Clermont yesterday with more to follow in KwaMashu and uMlazi.

Non-profit organisation, Nation Builders, donated soup to the Vishwaroop Cultural Centre and Tongaat Child Welfare who are feeding residents most affected by the flood.

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