Maverick Citizen

Maverick Citizen: OP-ED

Gift of the Givers: ‘Eastern Cape drought disaster worsening’

Gift of the Givers: ‘Eastern Cape drought disaster worsening’
Imtiaz Sooliman of the Gift of Givers organisation. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Thapelo Morebudi)

Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman makes a heartfelt and urgent plea for support in assisting those hit by the devastating drought in the Eastern and Northern Cape.

Cries of desperation, long early-morning queues, frantic calls and persistent knocking on doors of Gift of the Givers team members; communities are at a loss what to do as dam after dam, river after river and borehole after borehole shuts down. Add to that load shedding.

Small town economies dependent on festive season tourists are at their wits’ end as water is simply not available to service paying guests. This challenging scenario is about to become a nightmare as thousands of economically active citizens return home to the Eastern Cape in the coming days. Water demands are going to increase exponentially, amplifying the expanding crisis.

Gift of the Givers’ rapid response teams are battling to keep up with the demands. Frantically drilling more boreholes, adding a third water tanker (Isuzu gave us three water tankers and three bakkies), more tankers from AECI are expected, increasing the number of JoJo tanks to store water overnight (JoJo Tank company gave us 200 JoJo tanks), more pumps will be installed in the coming days in Adelaide, Bedford, Graaff-Reinet and Middelburg as all our lab tests for water come back “suitable for consumption”. Butterworth, Queenstown, Bolotwa, Cala, Willowvale are all crying out for immediate intervention. Government funding is no more a priority, it is way beyond the urgency and emergency phase.

Water is not the only requirement. There is a huge need for fodder, and food parcels for farm workers and farmers. Communities have banded together to produce woollen and ceramic items, bake cookies and distribute to markets nationwide. There is an intense urgency, a heart-rending desperation that needs collective united action to save both the Northern and Eastern Cape and their agricultural, labour-intensive economy.

Visit our Facebook page to view the drought crisis and the intervention yesterday and earlier. MC

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