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Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much.

 

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (25 April 2022) – There have been so many incredible individuals and organisations that have stepped up and are working together to assist the KwaZulu-Natal flood victims, from Gift of the Givers, to the Red Cross, FNB, Standard Bank, AVBOB, Netcare, NSRI and thousands of ‘active’ citizens have been doing the most!

Doctors For Life International (DFL) stepped up and joined the cause this weekend to provide healthcare to distressed flood victims in the Nhlungwane Extension (in Kwamashu), one of the remote areas that the recent floods in KZN have crippled. The water bottling company, aQuellé, also assisted in providing water for immediate relief because there is just no clean drinking water at the moment.

Photo Cred: Gerda Potgieter

More than 57 families, including 23 children between the ages of 0 to 18 years, have been displaced in the Nhlungwane area, and the local councillor helped to accommodate them in the community hall. Another 40 families with children are accommodated in a tent not far from there. These conditions are not ideal, and it makes it easy for a breakout of diseases which will spread fast under these poor conditions.

The disastrous floods and landslides crippled many townships, with various roads and houses washed away and infrastructure destroyed. It is still challenging to reach them. A bridge on the main road at Nhlungwane was totally washed away and left behind a crater. The bridge previously connected Ntuzuma and areas such as Inanda and KwaMashu. Only a few meters from the bridge in Ntuzuma, people and their homes were swept away by the waters. Some of them have not yet been found, and the families have no closure!

Dr Tselisa Nkuebe, the vice president of DFL, was on-site with the team at Nhlungwane. The DFL team provided healthcare to patients with chronic conditions. The local clinics in the area stopped functioning or ran out of stock, so the patients with chronic conditions do not know where to get the medication that they need. One of the clinics was reported to be flooded, and the patients did not have transport to take them to where they needed to go.

Dr Nkuebe said, “I started to see children with diarrhoea and coughs resulting from the floodings at one of the previous points where we also provided healthcare to patients affected by the floods. You can almost predict this, as diarrhoea is a common condition after floods. Another concern I have is the outbreak of measles, as I already saw some children with measles. It is a great concern because you cannot separate the child from the mother – they have nowhere to go. They are all in one big space, with only a mattress that separates them from each other. The best you can do is to advise the mother about separating the child from other children, or you can refer her to a clinic to make sure that the child’s vaccination is up to date. It can become very serious if the child is not vaccinated. What you now see is lots of rashes on children. The medical risks remain, and there are serious problems with water”.

Sakile Dlamini from the Kwamashu Christian Centre helps to care for those community members who lost their houses and do not have a place to stay. He assisted the DFL team during their outreach and described the situation as very bad. He says, “Many of the families here cannot find family members and the rescue teams are looking for them. During the daytime, they go and look for their clothes and belongings. Some received blankets and food, but water is now the big problem.

“The DFL team stepped in to help take care of the sick and needy, and this is a huge help. They helped us in the past also where help was needed. DFL closes the gap for communities that do not have proper access to primary health care. Everybody in the area is now affected by water issues, but the situation is worse for the families in the community hall and also in the tent in the area where over 40 families are hosted. They have no safe water to drink. aQuellé now plays a vital role in helping these people by giving them water. It helps a lot because the aQuellé water is purified and minimises the threat of diarrhoea. Children are more vulnerable to diseases, and aQuellé’s water helps a lot. But more is needed.”

The deadly floods, which started before the Easter weekend, left a trail of total devastation and death. The lives, well-being and health of people are still at risk and residents of many areas are now also faced with a serious shortage of clean water. Disasters such as the catastrophic KZN flooding have dire consequences for the people who are going through them, and water from streams, rivers and local water systems can become contaminated, with dire consequences. This is why aQuellé took immediate action early on during the disaster by providing clean water to distressed families in communities affected by the disaster.

Photo Cred: Gerda Potgieter

They have been doing it since the Easter weekend, but the demand is more than the supply.

The trauma communities face is unprecedented. The devastation is huge and widespread, and the stories told are heart-breaking. Countless informal settlements have been affected severely. Torrential rains and floods created havoc on homes, businesses and infrastructure. The constant rain led to landslides, newly-formed sinkholes; power outages; and lots of total destruction. Shelters are overwhelmed. Outreaches are hard to carry out because of the current conditions.

It was Helen Keller who once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.

Thank you to all the incredible people and organisations stepping in to help. We can all be active in following examples of these companies and people that do their part in making it a bit better.

The KZN flood disaster has brought many towns and settlements in KwaZulu-Natal to their knees. It is now the time for South Africans to unite and help our fellow South Africans in need.


Sources: Gerda Potgieter
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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