Humanitarian relief flown to Northern Cape flood areas

12 February 2021 - 11:08
Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said two tonnes of cargo will be flown to the area in a helicopter provided by the Oppenheimer family.
Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said two tonnes of cargo will be flown to the area in a helicopter provided by the Oppenheimer family.
Image: Gift of the Givers

Members of the Kimberley search and rescue unit and Gift of the Givers are providing much-needed relief for flood victims in the Northern Cape.

Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said their teams will on Friday deliver desperately required humanitarian supplies to villages in the province which have experienced “the worst flood since 1974”.

Due to roads still being impassable and with villagers cut off from the rest of Kuruman, Sooliman said two tonnes of cargo will be flown to the area by a helicopter provided by the Oppenheimer family.  

Sooliman said the pilot, who worked with Gift of the Givers during the cyclone in Mozambique in 2019, will leave Johannesburg on Friday morning and fly to the Kuruman airbase with the humanitarian supplies.  

“We subsequently discovered from the pilot there is no charge for this incredible contribution. This intervention is a wonderful example of government, the private sector and civil society working in unison for the benefit of our vulnerable communities in SA.”

The province has in recent days been helping people trapped in flooded areas.

Provincial police spokesperson Col Mashay Gamieldien said on February 6 officers responded to a family of five in distress in a river in the Boetsap area.

“It was believed the family, who were travelling in a donkey cart, was washed away and trapped in the river.”

Gamieldien said Capt John Seeley and W/O Michael Korasie were airlifted from the Kuruman airport by a military helicopter and flown to the scene.

She said the team executed a rescue which involved the lifting of each family member from the river.

“The family was brought to safety and dropped on a road where the owner of a farm further assisted them.”

On the same day, the team recovered the body of a 14-year-old boy after he drowned in an irrigation dam in Barkly West.

Gamieldien said the team also rescued a driver after his bakkie was swept away by  strong currents at the Spitskop Dam on February 7.

The team has also had to retrieve the bodies of flood victims.

Gamieldien said a 40-year-old man who was on a donkey cart was swept away and his body was recovered on February 8.

A team, under the command of several police officials and Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul, distributed eight tonnes of food to stranded victims in the province on February 4.

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