Gift of the Givers evacuating those affected by 'xenophobic attacks'

2015-04-14 22:55
 (Jeff Wicks, News24)

(Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Durban - Humanitarian aid group the Gift of the Givers worked late into Tuesday night in Durban to help move groups of foreign nationals to safety, after a tense day of stand-offs between police and local and foreign residents.

“We are fetching people as we speak,” Dr Abdirisack Hashi told News24.

“We are trying to rescue some families who say they are stuck in a house.”'

The families would join up to 7 000 people made up of “almost 10 different nations” living in tents provided by the KwaZulu-Natal government for those displaced by violence in the province, which Hashi claimed started on March 29.

Four hundred people were moved out of KwaMashu on Monday night after tensions flared-up and a teenager was shot dead, he said.

So far five people have died in the violence, being branded as xenophobic attacks.

Two of those killed were originally from Ethiopia and the police hope to be able to provide further details on Wednesday.

At least 46 people have been arrested.

Hashi said they had fetched people from Isipingo, Chatsworth, Mariannhill and in Durban's CBD.

Besides safe accommodation, their immediate need is for ready-to-eat food, because they are not allowed to cook near the tents, he explained.

The people rescued said they had been stoned, threatened and had to be evacuated from their homes.

‘Xenophobic attacks’

Asked to say whether he thought the violence in Durban was xenophobia, or crime unrelated to xenophobia, he said without hesitation: “It’s xenophobic attacks”.

In a statement on their website Gift of the Givers said it had been a “busy two weeks” for them.

“The shame that South Africa endured in the 2008 xenophobic attacks has reared its ugly head in 2015 with an ever increasing attack on foreign nationals,” the statement read.

“The level of unemployment, poverty, increased cost of living, cheap foreign labour and various other factors are all possible causes of the conflict but no matter what the grievances, violence is unacceptable whether it be on fellow African brother from the continent or even on South Africans themselves.'”

Food, blankets, sanitary pads, disposable nappies, hygiene packs and a range of other supplies had been distributed to many foreign nationals already.

Anybody who wanted to donate items to help, or to volunteer at the camps for the displaced, could contact 0800 786 911.

Meanwhile, the DA said it would visit the camps for those displaced on Wednesday.

DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme, the party's KwaZulu-Natal leader Sizwe Mchunu, MP Dianne Kohler Barnard and Zak Mbhele, would meet with foreign nationals to hear their plight and to see if there had been any implementation of the 2008 SA Human Rights Commission recommendations to prevent xenophobic attacks.

Read more on:    da  |  gift of the givers  |  durban  |  crime  |  xenophobia

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