11 June 2017

South Africa: Public Urged to Use Vetted Accounts As Relief, Donations Pour in for #KnysnaFire Victims

As relief aid and donations pour into Knysna and surrounding areas that have been ravaged by major fires, the Knysna Municipality has asked the public to only send money to vetted bank account numbers.

The municipality is keeping the public abreast on the status of relief efforts on social media, and also sending out specific appeals for what the 800 firefighters battling fires in the area lack.

On Sunday morning, for example, the call went out for 100 mattresses and batteries for the firefighters on Facebook and Twitter. By noon the municipality could announce that it had received the mattress donations, from the Al-Imdaad Foundation.

The municipality has however warned that only vetted bank accounts - which it publishes on social media, should be used for cash donations by members of the public.

In a Facebook statement, it said that cash was the "primary requirement at the moment in order to restore dignity to some hard hit residents".

Some of the vetted bank accounts include relief organisation Gift of the Givers, the municipality's own account and that of the Knysna Animal Welfare Society.

As of Sunday morning, over R32m in cash, in addition to goods and services had been donated to help aid relief efforts by banks, supermarkets and non-government organisations.

ABSA, Standard Bank and FNB each donated R10m.

Gift of the Givers has received almost R2m in corporate donations, including R700 000 by Discovery and R500 000 by Old Mutual, as well as smaller sums by private individuals.

Crowdfunding

South Africans, meanwhile have been dropping off non-perishable food, water, toiletries and hygiene products at points throughout the country, including fire stations, supermarkets and courier depots.

A number of supermarkets have donated food and trucks to transport supplies.

Courier company DHL, meanwhile, has been also transporting donations to Knysna, where they have been distributed by disaster management workers on the ground.

A number of crowdfunding sites have sprung up to ask for donations.

Kaylee Haman, a South African now living in Australia, was one of about a dozen people to set up appeals for money on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.

In an email to News24 Haman said: "My family and friends' lives have been devastated by the Knysna fire disaster, my father and aunt are among those who have lost their homes."

"Our efforts are currently focused on distributing this funding for immediate disaster relief. However I'd like to steer this project towards rebuilding the town once the initial crisis period has passed and this will require much more significant donations."

Her appeal had raised R32 000 as of noon, Sunday.

A separate UK-based appeal had raised over R180 000 in just 20 hours, with donations from over 800 people.

Source: News24

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