#UnrestSA: Relief efforts underway as food and medicine shortages looms in KZN

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A vehicle has arrived at the NMJ Foundation in Durban for loading and distribution of loaves of bread and milk for the needy in KwaZulu-Natal.
A vehicle has arrived at the NMJ Foundation in Durban for loading and distribution of loaves of bread and milk for the needy in KwaZulu-Natal.
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  • At least 20 businesses, NGOs, and NPOs have joined hands to distribute 40 000 loaves of bread and 40 000 litres of milk.
  • Dr Raeesa Baker has call for donations especially for babies in need of nappies, formula and baby food. 
  • The Commercial Aviation Association Southern Africa is currently coordinating flights with emergency supplies into KZN. 

With a looming food shortage in KwaZulu-Natal good Samaritans and businesses have stepped up to assist with relief efforts.

At least 20 different businesses, NGOs, and NPOs – including Muslims for Humanity and the Natal Memon Jamaat Foundation (NMJ) – have joined hands to distribute 40 000 loaves of bread and 40 000 litres of milk to communities impacted by violence and looting in the greater Durban area.

Mohamed Gany, chairperson of NMJ, said plans to bring much-needed food to Durban from Gauteng had begun on Tuesday night already.

READ | SA TikTok star creates Instagram filter to raise awareness about unrest in parts of SA

"To avoid crowded distribution points, various community organisations and individual businesses in Durban had pooled resources to take the bread and milk into different communities from a central point in the city on Thursday." 

Mohamed Riaz Fakie, a marketing coordinator for SANZAF, said various organisations had been inundated with calls offering help from Gauteng, and a last-minute decision had been taken to work together to load the much-needed food on trucks headed for Durban.

"Various businesses and community organisations in Gauteng had funded both the food and the private security contingent that had been needed to get the milk and bread to Durban from Gauteng safely. We hoped that the dire food shortages that were gripping the city in the wake of the destruction of retail outlets, factories and warehouses, could be resolved as soon as supply chains could be restored," he said.

Osman Hassim has collected bread and milk at the NMJ Foundation which he distributed to the needy.
Mohamed Gany, Chairman of NMJ holds one of the many trays of bread that were distributed by various charitable organisations to the needy throughout KwaZulu-Natal
Solly Amra, Rameez Amra and Ally load milk and bread into a vehicle to deliver to the needy in the Umgeni Road area in Durban.

There is a risk of food supply running low and Dr Raeesa Baker had taken the initiative to call for donations, especially for babies in need of nappies, baby formula and baby food. 

"I made a call on social media to ask how many people need baby food, and I received over 1 000 messages. I decided to start a WhatsApp group called "nappies and formula" so that we can share. Whoever had formula or nappies could share." 

She said they have managed to distribute formula to 200 babies in desperate need so far.

"It was the most heartbreaking thing to hear that mothers did not have any baby formula and even had to give tea and water to a baby of six-month-old. I know that babies need milk, and this hit me because I have a baby as well. The store's moms couldn't access them, or the stores were looted."

READ MORE | PICS: Long queues in Pietermaritzburg as people search for food

Meanwhile, the Commercial Aviation Association Southern Africa is currently coordinating flights with emergency supplies into KZN.

Kev Storie COO CAASA, told News24 they plan on making a difference. 

"We get the supplies to main airports or Aerodromes via paid for charters and funded charters by good Samaritans. Where we have additional space, we often do this for free as long as we can cover costs. We partner with other companies and the public to collect the supplies."

Storie said often their members may go so far as to help self-deliver emergency meds for those in areas that cannot get to pharmacies, or the pharmacies that were burnt down.

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