DURBAN - The families from Umlazi in Durban, who were victims of floods this past week, have welcomed relief efforts, donor funds, and aid from government, private companies, and NGOs that have pledged to help them rebuild their lives.
"We would like to thank all these people we did not know for everything they have done for us," a Mr Cele, who spoke in behalf of the families, said at the hand over of aid this weekend.
"Our lives are upside down because we don't have a place to stay, but you have traveled all this way to make sure we do feel taken care of and not like outcasts," he said.
At least 124 houses were destroyed and more than 14 people died in Umlazi alone, when heavy downpours and floods hit low-lying areas of Durban on Tuesday. Other affected areas included Chatsworth, Malvern, Queensburgh, and Mariannhill.
Millions of rand have been released by big corporate companies and government to assist families and rebuild infrastructure in the affected areas. The floods caused damage estimated at over R650 million in Durban.
On Saturday, Umlazi Ward 32 councillor Amon Dladla led a group of representatives from 360 Financial Services Group, Sizwe Medical Fund, and social movement #CountryDuty, who had travelled from Johannesburg to Umlazi to meet affected families and hand over aid.
The organisations donated food parcels, clothing, toiletries, and blankets to more than 50 affected families in Umlazi, before heading to Malvern where heavy rain and floods also left a trail of destruction in which several people died.
360 Financial Services Group business development executive Vuyolwethu Dlova said they felt they needed to come and see for themselves, and interact with victims to understand their plight and what they needed most, not just pledges of donations.
Dlova said their corporate social responsibility approach had always been hands-on in projects and tried to make more impact by giving their time, more than just money.
"We came to understand, especially through social media, what the extent of the devastation was and we felt we needed to do something about it and lend a helping hand. We cannot sit by passively and not act to the plight of our people.
"Everything that we do as an organisation is genuinely embedded in improving lives and livelihoods through health. This is nothing we could have foreseen, anticipated, but as corporate social responsible citizens we felt compelled to act," Dlova said.
Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) senior director of marketing and communications Mbali Mkhize also attended to hand over clothing and foodstuff donated by staff members at the institution.
"We reached out to the public and asked staff members to contribute anything that can go towards helping the affected families. We, as the MUT, are part of this community in Umlazi, and that is why we started this initiative.
"Some of our students who stay in the shacks off-campus were affected, but the rain also affected some of our student residences on campus. Luckily those have been assisted by the Gift of the Givers because we have a long-standing relationship with them," Mkhize said.
Dladla said the municipality and provincial government were in talks about relocating the victims of the floods to another place yet to be identified. Government would assist victims' families with burial costs, including transportation, tents, food, coffins, and other related costs, he said.
African News Agency (ANA)