Since the devastating fires that took place on the 7th and 8th of June, the South African Red Cross Society has been hands on in providing relief to the victims in Knysna and the Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape.
In the Longmore Plantation where the residents felt the impact the most and under the Kouga Municipality and in Rocklands (Nelson Mandela Bay); 816 hot meals to affected families have been provided. Over 2000 mattresses, 600 blankets and over 1000 clothing items have been donated.
Affected community based creches in Loerie and in Thornhill were affected and relief was sent their direction as well.
With a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers that were deployed and worked tirelessly and late into the night, the Red Cross in the Eastern Cape was able to render services to a very poor and vulnerable community. Longmore is one of those hidden communities that very few people know about. It is situated in the middle of a plantation and most of the residents are dependent on forestry for income. It is not easily accessible with rough and rocky dirt roads that meander up the mountain. Taking on challenging trips such as these to remote areas and villages emphasises the slogan by which the Red Cross staff and volunteers live by: Always Needed, Always There.
Along with the extreme wind conditions, fires started to flare up across the Knysna area during the same period, which made it nearly impossible for fire-fighters to contain. Knysna was left in shambles. As the fire spread rapidly through Knysna burning everything in its way, victims were placed in temporary shelters by the Municipality. SARCS; together with the Western Cape Disaster Management and corporate/individual donations and other NGO’s; we have been able to be and are still currently a vehicle that has supported those affected through provision of hot meals, blankets, vanity packs and baby packs.
We were also on board in transporting persons to temporary shelters and health facilities when the needed.