Lo­cal NGOS pro­vide aid to Beirut

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - TASCHICA PIL­LAY

SOUTH African hu­man­i­tar­ian and dis­as­ter re­lief or­gan­i­sa­tions are pro­vid­ing aid to vic­tims of the

Beirut blast.

A mas­sive ex­plo­sion dev­as­tated parts of Le­banon’s cap­i­tal city last week and left more than 200 peo­ple dead and more than 300 000 peo­ple home­less. The blast was caused by the det­o­na­tion of 2 750 tonnes of am­mo­nium ni­trate stored at the port for years.

Africa Mus­lim Agency (AMA) and the Gift of the Givers Foun­da­tion have reached out by pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial and re­lief aid as well as on the ground as­sis­tance.

Hus­sain Choonara, AMA re­gional man­ager for Kwazulu-na­tal and West­ern Cape, said they had been work­ing in Le­banon for the past five years on var­i­ous projects in var­i­ous parts of Le­banon.

“When the ex­plo­sions hap­pened, we had teams on the ground in Beirut im­me­di­ately work­ing 24/7 to pro­vide food and wa­ter to thou­sands of dis­placed peo­ple.

“The im­me­di­ate needs were food and wa­ter as well as mo­bile clin­ics as the hos­pi­tals did not have the ca­pac­ity to ac­cept the wounded. We pro­vided a mo­bile clinic im­me­di­ately, which pro­vided med­i­cal help to peo­ple who were found un­der rub­ble in their homes,” said Choonara.

He said the agency was sup­port­ing three hos­pi­tals with med­i­cal equip­ment and medicine.

“Apart from the ur­gent emer­gency aid ef­forts that are al­ready un­der way, the AMA teams are as­sess­ing strate­gic sus­tain­able em­pow­er­ment projects. This to as­sist al­ready iden­ti­fied fam­i­lies who have suf­fered the worst dev­as­ta­tion in re­build­ing and get­ting back to a form of nor­mal­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity.

“We en­cour­age the com­mu­nity to con­tinue to sup­port this Emer­gency#healle­banon cam­paign by spon­sor­ing R2 000 to pro­vide wa­ter, food and med­i­cal sup­plies for a fam­ily for a month or any amount,” said Choonara.

The Gift of the Givers Foun­da­tion do­nated R1 mil­lion last Fri­day for re­lief aid.

Dr Im­tiaz Sooli­man, founder of the NGO, said their in­ter­ven­tion in Beirut is be­ing fa­cil­i­tated by so­cial devel­op­ment agency Ghi­rass who will as­sist in the pur­chase and dis­tri­bu­tion of food, wa­ter, blan­kets, cloth­ing and med­i­cal sup­plies with the ini­tial R1 mil­lion.

He said no search and res­cue and med­i­cal teams flew to Le­banon be­cause its paramedics and front-line med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als were needed with fel­low health-care work­ers to as­sist in the fight against Covid-19 in South Africa.

“That doesn’t mean that we can’t as­sist hu­mankind in dis­tress in other parts of the world. Gift of the Givers has part­ner net­works glob­ally to in­crease the speed of dis­as­ter in­ter­ven­tion where calls are made for in­ter­na­tional as­sis­tance. Hav­ing as­sisted Le­banon in 2006, we have a ‘feel’ of the en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

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