With the subtropical depression – dubbed Issa by French national meteorological service Météo-France – which caused havoc over KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) this week degrading to a level 2 rain warning from the South African Weather Service on Sunday, the mission in KZN is moving from search and rescue to recovery and rebuilding.
“Right now, our focus is on search and recovery,” Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaaz Sooliman said on Sunday.
“The rescue phase is over.”
He said those that are missing family members could WhatsApp the organisation at 072 8182 050.
“The numbers are huge. We are receiving so many messages of people missing it is incredible,” said Sooliman.
“A lot of people are missing in Inanda, Molweni and in Pinetown. It’s five members of a family, nine members of a family, three members of a family, the numbers are just rising.
“That’s from people who know to contact us. Those who don’t know, maybe there will be additional information later.”
Sooliman said there was a huge recovery issue at hand and people needed support.
He noted in the Valley of a Thousand Hills between Pietermaritzburg and Durban where the Msunduzi and Umgeni rivers met, an area called Wishwini had been cut off since Monday.
“You can’t get in; you can’t get out. Those people have been stranded for six days,” Sooliman said.
“Quite a few people have passed on, quite a few have been injured. Helicopters went in to remove some bodies and injured people, but they have no supplies.”
He said Gift of the Givers was busy with provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi at the KZN command centre arranging for helicopters to help Wishwini.
“We told them send as many helicopters as they want, we’ll fill every single one with food items,” Sooliman said.
On Facebook, Gift of the Givers noted its teams had found community members waiting at the edge of a river in Inanda. When asked what they were doing, they said: “We are waiting for the bodies of our family members to float downstream to recover them”.
This incident and several other messages received have highlighted the need to send in large numbers of teams for search and recovery.
Sooliman said they were not collecting goods from people all over the country as it was too much of a logistics and labour issue when instead Gift of the Givers could bulk buy in Durban and Pietermaritzburg at special discounts where it was buying containers and truckloads of goods it had identified were needed.
Funding is required to purchase certain basic things, said Sooliman, and asked people to rather donate cash.
Hot meals, blankets, bottled water, warm clothes, sanitary pads and diapers are the initial requirements for those in low lying areas who have lost their material possessions.
Food parcels, school uniforms and stationery will be provided where the need arises, building material will be considered as well as repairs to damaged school infrastructure.
Donations can be sent to:
Gift of the Givers
Bank: Standard Bank
Account number: 052137228
Reference: KZN Floods
Send your deposit slip to firstname.lastname@example.org for a formal acknowledgement and request a section 18A tax-deductible certificate.
Abahlali baseMjondolo is also making an appeal for assistance.
“We have no one but ourselves as we rebuild our lives,” the organisation said in a statement.
“All our settlements are affected but the most affected now are eNkanini, Cato Crest, eKhenana, Ekukhanyeni, Zamokuhle, Foreman Road, Kennedy Road, Briardene, eKuphumeleleni, KwaMamsuthu, Lindelani, Barcelona2 and eKhenana. In all these settlements people’s homes were washed away.”
Abahlali said it needed food, clothing, school uniforms, building materials and blankets.
Donations can be sent to:
Account name: Abahlali Basemjondolo Movement SA
Bank: First National Bank
Account number: 62786238230
Reference: KZN Floods Relief
Durban SPCA would also welcome assistance for its operations as countless pets and farm animals were swept away in the floods.
Donations can be made to:
Branch code: 220226
Account no: 62238932893
Account name: SPCA Durban
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has also launched a KZN Flood Relief Fund to assist the KwaZulu-Natal community to rebuild.
The Chair of UJ Council, Mike Teke has donated R100,000 while the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala has donated R20,000.
“This will be given to the Gift of the Givers, a trusted humanitarian NGO at the forefront of aid at this difficult time,” UJ said on its website.
Facitilites are available for people to add donations as well at https://uj.devman.co.za/devman/online/giving/