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Relief NGOs scramble to assist Knysna fire

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Humanitarian organisations from around the country are scrambling to assist with relief operations in Knysna, which has been left devastated by a massive fire. The Knysna Muslim Council (KMC) has opened up the doors of its salah khana to residents of Hornlee, affected by the fires that have ravaged parts of the tourist town.  He said many homes were completely burnt down.

“It’s very difficult and trying time. Some families can’t return at the moment. So we are trying to assist wherever we can.”

Essa said it was difficult to determine the extent of the damage and the need, as the area has been clouded in heavy smoke for the past two days.On Thursday morning, light rain started falling along the Garden Route, bringing welcome relief to residents and emergency workers in the fire ravaged area.

Anyone who wants to donate can contact Omar Essa on 083 413 6156

A Gift of the Givers truck carrying bottled water for drought affected Cape Town has been re-routed to Knysna following the devastating fire that began on Wednesday. The organisation’s founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said they have been on standby since Tuesday morning, at the request of Cape Town Disaster Management, to assist drought stricken Cape Town and the expected storm that evening.

“Our warehouses were ready, additional supplies were being sent from Johannesburg. The first such delivery of bottled water destined for Cape Town is now re-routed to Knysna and is close to the town,” he said.

Loading of relief aid continues @GiftoftheGivers . #KnysnaFire

Posted by Gift of the Givers on Thursday, 8 June 2017

The organisation has already dispatched a truck filled with water, which is enroute to Knysna. They are also sending two 8 ton trucks with food and blankets. Shoprite Checker has allocated two buildings in Rawson Rd for the collection of relief donations. Game, Makro, Woolworths are sending supplies to the warehouse. The Disaster Management Centre in Cape Town has asked the relief agency to manage the social distribution of the items

“We can’t rush in and distribute until we know what is needed and where people will be accommodated. Whilst we wait for that information, we will get ready for the first rollout,” said Sooliman.

The relief NGO will also dispatch a medical team to Knysna to give support to fire victims who have been injured in the blaze.

“We are sending two ambulances, our own paramedics and 6 high specialised emergency services personnel that will work together with disaster relief authorities in Knysna,” Sooliman added.

Contributions in cash and kind for both areas will be accepted. Cash contributions into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account number 052137228, Branch Code 057525.  Send a deposit slip to Section 18A tax certificates will be issued on request. For more details call toll-free 0800786911.

#OperationSA and the Al-Imdaad Foundation have launched an urgent appeal for funds to assist victims of the devastating storms and fires. #CapeRelief was set up this morning in response to calls for assistance from thousands affected by the storms in and around Cape Town and by the fires in Knysna.

“Our target is to raise at least R1-million within 24 hours,” said Yusuf Abramjee from

“The money will go directly to the Al-Imdaad Foundation who have teams on stand-by to buy essential items such as food, blankets and clothing. We will deliver the aid without delays,” said Abramjee.

“We also have volunteers who will distribute the much needed aid,” he added.

#OperationSA raised almost R14-m earlier this year to assist the victims of the Syrian war. Six charities benefitted.

“We appeal to South Africans to again open their hearts and dig deep into their pockets and let’s assist those affected by the storms and fires. They need our help and they need it now,”
said Abramjee.

Qari Ziyaad Patel from the Al-Imdaad Foundation said: “We cannot sit back and watch the devastation. We need to help those in need with urgency and we appealing to South Africans to open support #CapeRelief

“We also want corporates to donate. We challenge them to pledge and continue making a difference,” Patel said. “Let’s act and act now!”

Abramjee called on NGO’s, community groups, religious organizations to also mobilize.

Yaseen Theba from #OperationSA said pledges would be taken via SMS, WhatsApp and email.

Details for pledges.



You can also pledge via the website:

Updates on the total pledge will be posted on the website regularly.

Tax certificates available on request. Please email proof of payment together with the following information to

1. Donor/Company name in which 18a must be made out.
2. Donor/Company Income Tax Number.
3. Postal Address.
4. Email address.
5. Contact Details.

Account details for donations:

Al-Imdaad Foundation
First National Bank
Branch: 220325 (Estcourt)
Reference: AIF21698 Cape Relief

Some 10 000 Knysna residents have been safely evacuated, with reports of some residents refusing to leave their properties. Some of the areas mainly affected are Brenton; Belvedere; Welbedacht; Nania; Eastford; Green Pastures and Knysna Heights. 50 homes were reportedly gutted in the fire, described as “the largest and most destructive fire” in a built up area in the Western Cape in recent memory.

The Western Cape’s Department of Local Government said there were three confirmed deaths in the Rheenendal area, bringing the provincial storm-related death toll to eight. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) confirmed there has been one additional fatality in the Knysna area, reportedly due to a heart attack and unrelated to the storm.

Additional fire-fighting resources have been deployed to the area to assist the teams on the ground, including eight fire trucks from City of Cape Town, two from the Overberg district and 12 additional Working on Fire teams. The SANDF has also been roped into assist. The current conditions include strong wind and heavy smoke which makes helicopter use not possible at present.

The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre is busy coordinating relief efforts and humanitarian relief aid for all affected areas across the Western Cape following the storm, with a specific focus on Knysna. VOC

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