Re­lief ef­forts: fa­ces be­hind fa­mi­li­ar na­mes In­stru­men­tal in ot­her a­re­as, too

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - Ju­lie Jef­fe­rys

W­hen the fi­res bro­ke out in Knys­na on 7 Ju­ne, Knys­na lo­cals Doné El­se and her part­ner, Bru­ce Bar­tie star­ted a Fa­ce­book pa­ge cal­led Knys­na Fi­res 7th Ju­ne which is still going strong.

El­se is an ad­mi­nis­tra­tor on the KGG Fa­ce­book pa­ge and Bar­tie spe­ci­a­li­ses in com­pu­ters.

At a ti­me w­hen most ot­her com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on chan­nels we­re do­wn, El­se and Bar­tie pos­ted con­stant up­da­tes du­ring the fi­re and as a re­sult, the pa­ge quick­ly at­trac­ted a lar­ge num­ber of fol­lo­wers.

Not­wit­hstan­ding the fact that the fi­res occur­red mo­re than a hund­red days ago, the­se num­bers ha­ve not di­mi­nis­hed and by the ti­me of going to print, t­his Fa­ce­book pa­ge had 50 760 pe­op­le li­king it and 53 956 fol­lo­wers.

Du­ring the first few weeks fol­lo­wing the fi­res, Bar­tie said, they re­cei­ved dai­ly up to 1 500 Fa­ce­book mes­sa­ges, we­re hand­ling hund­reds of pho­ne calls and count­less e­mails in or­der to fa­ci­li­ta­te the vast a­mount of do­na­ti­ons of goods to Knys­na – the to­tal of which has al­re­a­dy ex­cee­ded 1 500 tons, and o­ver 60% of which was fa­ci­li­ta­ted by them.

To da­te, he said, they ha­ve al­so fa­ci­li­ta­ted the de­li­very of mo­re than R3-mil­li­on in do­na­ti­ons to va­ri­ous groups and or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons as­sis­ting fi­re victims.

Trust ac­count set up

On­ce the cou­ple re­a­li­sed the ex­tent of the help co­ming in, a trust ac­count was set up – o­ver­seen by the law firm An­tho­ny-Gooden Inc in Port E­li­za­beth – to col­lect and dis­tri­bu­te do­na­ti­ons.

As of 8 Sep­tem­ber, Bar­tie said that R242 068.72 of the R261 155.18 do­na­ted to the trust fund had been spent as­sis­ting va­ri­ous in­di­vi­du­als and or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons.

A­mong ot­her re­ci­pients, he said, KAWS re­cei­ved mo­re than R20 000; R­hee­nen­dal fi­re ma­na­ge­ment u­nit R49 754; Ning­mo foods re­cei­ved R10 000 to as­sist with me­als for victims and tho­se hos­ting victims; whi­le R153 175.50 was spent on fur­ni­tu­re and ap­pli­an­ces for victims, by me­ans of vou­chers from @Ho­me.

Bar­tie sta­ted that the success of the re­ach and in­te­racti­on of the pa­ge has been heig­h­te­ned by the fact that he had been con­tacted by the U­ni­ver­si­ty of the Free Sta­te (UFS) and Nort­hWest U­ni­ver­si­ty, w­ho­se re­se­ar­chers want to stu­dy so­ci­al me­dia and the im­pact it has on fol­lo­wers, spe­ci­fi­cal­ly re­la­ting to di­sas­ter ma­na­ge­ment, by u­sing the in­for­ma­ti­on gat­he­red by the ad­mi­nis­tra­tors of the pa­ge.

The re­sults will be in­cor­po­ra­ted in­to the u­ni­ver­si­ties’ cur­ri­cu­lum for so­ci­al me­dia stu­dies.

Dr Mer­cia Coet­zee from UFS ex­plai­ned: “As part of my re­se­arch on the use of Fa­ce­book du­ring di­sas­ters, I in­ves­ti­ga­ted a few com­mu­ni­ty Fa­ce­book pa­ges from all o­ver the wor­ld. Knys­na Fi­res 7th Ju­ne stands out as an ex­am­ple of how a Fa­ce­book pa­ge can sup­port a com­mu­ni­ty in cri­sis – not on­ly du­ring the first few days of di­sas­ter and cha­os but in hel­ping the com­mu­ni­ty to stand up and re­build. The way the pa­ge is ma­na­ged is an ex­am­ple of w­hat can be a­chie­ved and can ser­ve as an ex­am­ple to ot­her si­mi­lar groups.”

Bar­tie said they we­re al­so ap­pro­a­ched by the Clas­si­cs is Groot con­cert di­rec­tor B­ren­don Har­gro­ves, to i­den­ti­fy lo­cal bu­si­nes­ses and tra­de­spe­op­le who had lost the me­ans to e­arn their li­ve­li­hoods and pay their s­taff, and who could be­ne­fit from funds rai­sed by a be­ne­fit con­cert.

The­se do­na­ti­ons we­re han­ded o­ver on 16 Sep­tem­ber, as re­por­ted in t­his pa­per on 21 Sep­tem­ber.

An­na­rie Hugo, Bar­ry P­re­to­ri­us and Ian Vos of the Clas­si­cs is Groot te­am tra­vel­led to Knys­na to meet with the re­ci­pients and hand o­ver the funds.

In ad­di­ti­on to t­his, af­ter o­ver­tu­res we­re re­cei­ved from sup­pliers, El­se and Bar­tie put the word out and victims sup­p­lied shoe and un­der­we­ar si­zes, and do­na­ti­ons of new foot­we­ar and un­der­we­ar we­re ma­de by the SA Foot­we­ar and Le­at­her In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­ti­on and Joc­key un­der­we­ar. Tools, fur­ni­tu­re, ap­pli­an­ces and ot­her do­na­ti­ons are still being col­lected and sto­red for victims until nee­ded – on­ce hou­ses ha­ve been re­built.

The cou­ple’s ho­me soon star­ted re­sem­bling a stora­ge de­pot, Bar­tie said, so much so that w­hen El­se’s mot­her ca­me to vi­sit, ac­com­mo­da­ti­on had to be found el­se­w­he­re be­cau­se the hou­se had been full to the hilt with do­na­ti­ons, as is still the ca­se. It is for t­his re­a­son that the cou­ple are des­pe­ra­te­ly look­ing for a stora­ge con­tai­ner and a­ny­bo­dy who may be a­ble to as­sist is as­ked to con­tact them on 044 382 0266.

Ha­ve any spa­re chan­ge?

Bar­tie and El­se ha­ve al­so star­ted a­not­her i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve, the FFFF Chal­len­ge (Fif­ty Rand Fun­drai­ser for F­riends in the Fi­re), with the mes­sa­ge that “your small chan­ge can ma­ke a big chan­ge”, w­he­re­by pe­op­le are en­coura­ged to sa­ve coins and w­hen the to­tal re­a­ches R50, it can be do­na­ted to the fund.

T­his fun­drai­sing ef­fort is ac­com­pa­nied by a raf­fle, with pri­zes worth mo­re than R20 000.

For tho­se who wish to accept the chal­len­ge, the ban­king de­tails are: Knys­na Fi­res, ABSA bank, branch co­de 632005, ac­count 9329935490.

To stay a­bre­ast of the i­ni­ti­a­ti­ves being run, sim­ply “li­ke the Fa­ce­book pa­ge “Knys­na Fi­res 7th Ju­ne”.

P­ho­to: Sup­p­lied

Bru­ce Bar­tie and Doné El­se with their daug­h­ters Kei­ra-Leigh and Ken­dra.

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