Community Pulls Together Following KZN FloodsFriday, 24 May 2019
CityHope Disaster Relief, a Public Benefit Organisation based in Hillcrest, KZN, has been overwhelmed with the response from the local community following the recent flooding that took place in Kwa-Zulu Natal last month. CityHope responds to natural and man-made disaster situations across South Africa by providing immediate relief aid to communities that have been left helpless following devastating circumstances, such as flooding, political unrest or spreading fires.
The NPO put out a call to the public to unite in support of the thousands that had been displaced during the heavy rains that had resulted in over 70 fatalities. Grocery stores in the upper highway area, such as Oxford Village and Food Lover’s Market, were eager to support and facilitated collections through their in-store trolley displays. Others, such as Checkers Gillitts, provided daily hot meals into the Stockville community for a substantial period. Staff members in the IT Department of Spar in Pinetown generously donated boxes of relief aid in an effort to support those that had been affected by the devastation.
There were numerous schools and universities in the province that displayed their generosity through delivering bakkie loads of donated clothing and food items to the CityHope offices, located at City Hill Church on Inanda Rd. The schools that rallied together were Waterfall College, Durban Girls College, Varsity College Westville, Livingstone Primary as well as Curro Academy in Parkdene, Gauteng. Local churches, such as CityHill in Eston and Pinetown, took to donating their weekly tythes as well as items in kind to the worthy cause. Distribution efforts across the province are made possible by City Logistics, who passionately support CityHope ongoingly with any of their logistical needs across South Africa.
CityHope called for volunteers to attend a relief packing session, where close on 500 Hope Kits were filled with blankets, various sustainable food items and essential toiletries. The vast crowds that arrived for the session were able to have the job completed within the hour, due to their eagerness to make a difference in the communities surrounding them. Amongst these volunteers were two representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Hillcrest. The representatives were overcome with emotion as they realised the impact that CityHope was making, which led the church to make a substantial cash donation in order for the NPO to continue the work they were doing in so many lives.
Within the first two weeks following the floods, CityHope Disaster Relief supported over 2,000 individuals across 11 communities including Stockville, Marianhill, Chatsworth, Umlazi, Klaarwater and Molweni. With the substantial cash donations that have been received from the public, as well as from two reputable JSE listed financial institutions, the PBO will continue their work into these communities as they focus on rebuilding homes and fixing damages to infrastructure in schools. CityHope has partnered with Tyburn Primary School, in Chatsworth, which experienced substantial damages from the heavy rains, resulting in several classrooms being completely flooded with mud and debris. The organisation will ensure that the wreckage is cleared, and repairs are performed to enable the students to return to their classes. Furniture, stationery and additional teaching equipment will also be provided by CityHope to ensure the high standard of education can continue without drastic interruptions.
The organisation has taken a handful of families under their wing to ensure that the children are cared for and are able to return to school to continue their education. One such family is the Ndlovu family in Klaarwater, whose home was completely destroyed as the flood waters swept through their property. The walls of the house collapsed around the family as they were asleep in the early hours of the morning and devastatingly crushed one of the elder sons who was sadly unable to be rescued from the rubble before losing his life. Each of the selected families has been provided with new school uniforms and school essentials for their children as well as a comprehensive supply of building materials to ensure a strong and secure home can be re-built.
The CityHope disaster response team has recently returned from their trip to Malawi, following Cyclone Idai, where close to 60 people lost their lives, and approximately 90,000 were left without vital basic needs such as shelter, food and safety in Malawi alone. In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the PBO dispatched a team of relief workers to oversee aid distribution efforts. With the financial support of their humanitarian partners The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the team distributed 20 Tonnes of food aid to over 1,000 families in three affected districts.