DESPITE assurances from government that victims of the Msinga and Umvoti New Year’s Eve storm will receive aid, the reality on the ground is that this has been slow in materialising.
These areas were the worst affected by a heavy storm that broke out in the midlands on New Year’s Eve. The damage left by the storm was significant, with many families losing everything they owned.
Doretta MacKenzie, who runs part of the effort to raise aid privately for affected families, says that assistance from government and the municipalities has been slow.
“As yet we have received nothing from government and very little from the municipality. Only two women have come in to donate clothing, but there is an urgent need for blankets and food, preferably non-perishable items,” said MacKenzie.
MacKenzie’s efforts are mainly focused on raising funds in the Pietermaritzburg area, but Ruphert Maré, who has a farm in Muden and is close to the worst affected areas, said that it is almost as if the survivors have been forgotten.
“It seems as if no one wants to help. We have received very few donations from the municipality, and nothing from government. Some of the local farmers are trying to run aid efforts in between devoting their time to running their business. So they can’t dedicate all of their time to the effort,” said Maré.
He adding that the farmers are having another meeting with government next week to assess the way forward, but before that time there is a desperate need for donations.
But media liaison officer for the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lennox Mabaso told The Witness that they are involved in relief work.
“Although we have not given out food and clothing since the immediate aftermath of the storms, we are busy repairing the damage to houses, roads and schools which we see as a priority and will be busy with [this] for the immediate future,” said Mabaso adding that they are also assisting the search and rescue wing of the South African Police Services in the search for two remaining people who went missing during the storms.
Should anyone be able to make a donation they can contact MacKenzie on 084 319 4191.