As South Africa’s eyes were glued to news reports about the worst storm Cape Town has experienced in decades and the carnage it left, Knysna and the region surrounding it caught fire. The ensuing blazes forced approximately 10 000 people to leave their homes, many fleeing with only the clothes on their backs.
The damage the fires have caused is devastating in the truest sense of the word, and the fires have not been completely put out yet. The destruction has sparked relief efforts from across the country, with many big South African corporates stepping up to coordinate the delivery of aid to the disaster-stricken region.
The compassion of the average citizen has been a golden thread throughout this story. There were the initial offers of shelter from the hospitality sector in surrounding areas, to people opening their homes. As fires raged that first night, a brewery even opened its doors to people who had been affected. Donations are still pouring in from across the country to help those in need. If you’re still wondering how you can assist, these are some of the organisations to contact.
The supermarket chain has made it easy to donated without even leaving your home. You can order groceries online and have them delivered directly to the affected areas, or donate your Smart Shopper points to support the cause.
Collection points have been set up at Shoprite and Checkers stores countrywide.
Collection points have been set up at various Makro stores across the country.
The international courier service offers free delivery of donations from pick-up points across the country.
Aramex has also joined efforts to get donations delivered to Knysna. There are 16 offices around the country where you can drop off donations.
This organisation is currently en route from Johannesburg to Knysna, collecting donations on the way.
Gift of the Givers is always on the ground and providing aid in times of crisis. Currently they are coordinating efforts for both the Knysna fires and the storms in Cape Town.
The Spur Foundation is supplying burgers to people who have been affected.
Support the SPCA in their efforts to make sure that the animals affected by the fires are taken care of.
You can also SMS the word CARE to 38018 to donate R25 to the NSPCA.
If you prefer to donate cash towards relief efforts, have a look at this GoFundMe campaign set up by a resident of Knysna.
What to donate:
• Blankets, pillows and mattresses
• Clothing (especially warm clothing and jackets)
• Sanitary towels
• Nappies, baby bottles, baby food and formula
• Non-perishable food
• Long-life milk
• Pet food
• Eye drops
• Lip ice
Keep an eye on the Knysna fire Facebook page to address needs as they arise.