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KZN floods update: By Nelisiwe Makhubu

ForAfrika and partners bring back smiles to flood-hit KwaZulu-Natal

Time to smile: Tarpaulins and blankets bring some comfort after being displaced.

A box of necessities helps to relieve the suffering, but long-term, sustainable projects are needed in these areas.

A few months after catastrophic floods hit the coastal regions of the KwaZulu-Natal province, families are still struggling to piece their lives back together. ForAfrika and partners worked together to bring some relief to those worst affected by the disaster.

“The floods ruined everything; mounds of mud came into our homes and the water filled the house and ruined all our possessions and the food that we had to eat, explains 64-year-old Judy.

In April, parts of the province received between 200 and 400mm of rain within a 24-hour period, which caused extensive damage to homes, businesses, roads and bridges. Water, electricity, rail and telecommunications infrastructure was also damaged. Those living in informal settlements, located close to rivers and waterways, were left reeling with more than 40,000 people displaced.

ForAfrika procured, packed and distributed a total of 2,500 emergency relief hampers in August that reached Judy and a further 17,000 individuals. In order to respond to people’s most pressing needs, these family hampers contained essential food items, drinking water, tarpaulins and blankets.

In all this, children were not forgotten and the Lego Foundation supplied 7,260 play packs in order to assist Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres recover from the losses they incurred.

“We are proud to say that we have a strong presence in the affected communities, together with our partners and were therefore familiar with those highly affected. The stated objectives of the project were fully met,” explains ForAfrika’s community development officer Ivan Krishna.

ForAfrika’s efforts were rewarded with huge smiles and words of thanks.

“What makes me glad is that we got some help with food to a point where I am not in lack and I am able to cook and eat. I am also grateful for the blankets and the parcels that are given to us,” said Judy.

“Because of their help we will go to bed with full stomachs, blankets on our backs and with some warmth, thank you,” said Smangele Gumede.

“The emergency relief project was designed to bring temporary relief. However, there is a need for longer-term sustainability. ForAfrika recommends projects which will benefit the community even after the effects of the disaster, such as nutritional feeding at ECD centres, establishing food gardens and improvement projects to rebuild homes and pre-schools,” said Ivan.

Nelisiwe Makhubu is Community Development Officer in South Africa

ForAfrika’s efforts were rewarded with huge smiles and words of thanks.

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