The Gift of the Givers has made an urgent appeal for assistance for drought-stricken Sutherland which it said is in "serious trouble". Picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Cape Town - The Gift of the Givers relief organisation has made an urgent appeal for assistance for drought-stricken Sutherland in the Northern Cape which it said is in "serious trouble". 

In a statement, Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said: "Man, animal and the environment are in tremendous difficulty. The area is experiencing its worst drought in 100 years,"

"ALL two hundred boreholes that served the region have dried out as the water table has decreased substantially, the total sheep count has dropped to 25% from urgent sell off or death of the animals, grazing is non existent, pregnant sheep will lose their new babies and more deaths will follow unless there is an urgent intervention with fodder." 

According to GotG, in the last year 11 farmers have lost everything, another 56 are about to suffer the same fate. "The knock on effect is the loss of jobs of virtually the entire farm labourer population and the resultant economic effect on their families. The local schools are also in crisis."

Gift of the Givers said farmers in Free State had made available the first 500 bales of fodder which GotG trucks will start to transport in the next 48 hours. 

"Our hydrology team led by Dr Gideon Groenewald will be on site soon to drill deeper boreholes. Food parcels, blankets, warm clothing, hygiene packs, special supplements for fodder and school items are all urgent requirements. The population of Sutherland, well wishers and friends are trying to put something together to assist Gift of the Givers efforts. Saving Sutherland is going to be a mammoth task. Any support for this initiative will be appreciated."

African News Agency/ANA