The latest updates confirm that about 1070 houses were damaged to varying degrees or totally destroyed in the Knysna fire of 7 June; of these around 700 were uninsured in rural, farm, central areas and in informal settlements.
Gift of the Givers is commencing the repair and rebuilding of the first hundred homes very soon. The housing project will be supervised by our project manager, Mario Ferreira (082 490 2752), who has a team of engineers and building personnel that will implement the intervention; local labour to support job creation will be prioritised, quality materials will be utilised and “shacks” destroyed will be replaced by RDP homes of a much superior standard. Our aim is to upgrade those affected to a better quality life for their families.
Mario has been engaging the municipality and local mayor very successfully and the co-operation has been excellent. Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, with her Director-general, has met Gift of the Givers, endorses the project and fully supports our intervention. Standard Bank has contributed R5 million to Gift of the Givers for the reconstruction and Global Roofing Solutions has donated 100 000 metres of roof sheeting valued at R3 million. Any further contributions in cash or in building material will be most welcome as the total construction cost and business support for the uninsured is astronomical.
The Knysna Fire has been Gift of the Givers most comprehensive local disaster response in our 25 year history. Thus far in cash and kind we have expended R20 million on the intervention. This includes bringing in emergency services personnel, a team of medical specialists, trauma counsellor, advanced life support paramedics, two ICU ambulances, medical equipment, medicines and other medical supplies. Thus far food parcels, hygiene packs, blankets and clothes were distributed to 12000 people; a large quantity of mattresses, linen, kettles, toasters and irons were also handed out; 1200 fire fighters were assisted daily with water and snacks; a huge quantity of pet food was handed out to several animal shelters. School uniforms were purchased for learners at Knysna Primary and Secondary School who lost their homes in the fire. Presently, we are busy with a very active Bee Rehabilitation project for the Knysna region; 240 beehives have been donated and hundreds of hectares of land have been offered to us for the process. Livestock and horses have also been catered for. Two weeks ago we contracted the use of 25 super links to commence delivery of fodder to various farms in the Knysna region.
Contributions for the various initiatives are still most welcome. Deposit into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account No. 052137228, Branch Code 057525. Please send deposit slip for acknowledgement purposes firstname.lastname@example.org. Section 18A tax certificates are provided on request. Deposits can also be made through the Gift of the Givers app available in android and iStore.