THE WEEK GONE BY
Thula Thula depends on the goodwill of donors and volunteer efforts and we have been overwhelmed by the willingness of the Hout Bay community, the greater Cape community and even international donors, to step up in the wake of the fire, which ravaged Imizamo Yethu last weekend. After a week of crisis management, it is with a sense of immense gratitude that we share a day-by-day account of how, through the community’s hands-on effort, Thula Thula has managed to register and provide relief to the fire victims on a grand scale.
- Saturday 11 March: News broke in the early hours of a devastating fire raging through Imizamo Yethu. Thula Thula was mobilized and donations started to pour in. We undertook immediate emergency relief runs of food, water and other essentials.
- Sunday 12 March: Stationed at the Iziko Lobomi Centre we began an electronic registry of all victims, working closely with The City of Cape Town. We also began distributing toiletries, female sanitary products and nappies. Our registration efforts were to ensure we could have direct contact with victims of the fire regarding donations. We moved our donation reception and sorting to the International School of Hout Bay, from where we conducted emergency relief runs of food, water and other necessities to queues of people waiting for relief and into less accessible areas.
- Monday 13 March: We continued electronic registry at Iziko Lobomi, where 1920 families (representing more than 8000 victims) were registered within 48 hours. We continued to receive and sort donations, but moved this operation to Ambleside School in Hout Bay. Teams of volunteers throughout the day undertook emergency relief runs.
- Tuesday 14 March: We undertook our first large-scale distribution of clothes, toiletries and blankets at the astroturf soccer field across from IY reaching 1710 families (6840 individuals). We also registered 344 new families (around 1200 victims). The reception and sorting of donations continued at Ambleside School and we continued emergency relief runs.
- Wednesday 15 March: Volunteers continued with the receiving and sorting of donations at Ambleside School, while emergency relief runs were maintained throughout the morning. By mid-afternoon we handed over responsibility for the emergency relief runs to the Mustadafin Foundation and The Red Cross, who continued the efforts as per their mandate.
- Thursday 16 March: An additional 189 families (800 victims) were registered and received clothing and toiletries. Our volunteers continued receiving and sorting donations at Ambleside School.
- Friday 17 March: We continued to receive donations for packing and sorting. All non-perishable donations were sent to a temporary storage facility.
- Saturday 18 March: Our operations were moved back to Hout Bay International School where we continued to receive donations for sorting and packing, temporarily stored at a warehouse. Volunteers walked through Imizamo Yethu and up the mountainside to make contact with any additional fire victims who had yet to register. Their information was added to our database so they could be eligible for relief.
- Sunday 19 March: We continued to receive donations at Hout Bay International School and our dedicated volunteers continued to scour Imizamo Yethu, to identify further fire victims who had yet to register. Their information was added to our database so they could be eligible for relief.
Thank you to each person who has enabled this inconceivable process.
OUR WEEK AHEAD
We are gearing up for our large delivery on Human Rights Day, Tuesday 21 March 2017.
- Monday 20 March: Due to a lack of space and hands on volunteer capacity, we are unable to accept individual smaller donations. Our operations at Hout Bay International School will be strictly reserved for sorting and packing donations already received. We however still welcome larger corporate and monetary donations.
- HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, Tuesday 21 March 2017: This will be our third large scale distribution of clothes, toiletries and blankets at the astroturf soccer field in Hout Bay, for the 5 756 victims who have been registered, but have not been able to attend the first two delivery efforts.
Ongoing relief strategy:
Our efforts remain linked with the progress of government’s efforts to superblock the area to be rebuilt. As soon as homes are rebuilt we will begin efforts to distribute ‘housing starter packages’ including bedding, clothes, towels, non-perishable foods, kitchen utensils, toys for kids, etc. We are hoping this will be done within a week.
In the interim:
A portion of our funding has been allocated toward the relief efforts listed above, and where physical donations have not been sufficient we have purchased the necessary items in bulk. We are encouraging continued monetary donations, which will be used to purchase additional products in bulk and to invest in fire prevention education to ensure a disaster of this magnitude is never repeated.
It is with absolute humility that we thank each and every person who has donated time, money and products to the ongoing relief of so many left destitute. We salute you and are honoured to serve the community.
These are the items we still desperately need for our third distribution day at the astroturf on Tuesday 21 March 2017:
- Soap (1500)
- Toothpaste (1500)
- Toothbrushes (2000 adults and 500 children)
- Heavy Duty Kitchen Cloths (2500)
- Baby Wipes (1000)
- Baby Food (500)