News24.com | #CycloneIdai: 'There are still people in dire straits' - SANDF on relief efforts

Cyclone Idai is long gone, but its devastating effects on South Africa’s neighbouring countries prove there is still more work to be done to grant full relief to close to 1.5 million people.

“There are still people trapped in areas that are bound,” Station Commander Colonel Itel Zurich told the media, as a second batch of donations from South African citizens reached Beira, Mozambique, on Tuesday.

“While the water is going down, it seems better, but the problem areas are still far out. That is the concern.

“There are still people in dire straits and [they] need help immediately,” he said.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) facilitated the transport of donations to Beira in Mozambique and Blantyre in Malawi with the help of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Tuesday.

This comes after International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu donated millions of rand in financial aid to the victims of Cyclone Idai, which claimed over 1 000 lives.

She was accompanied by mining magnate Patrice Motsepe and his wife Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who donated R30m as a couple.

Tremendous impact

The SANDF, which has been administering the operation, rescued 417 people.

“That operation ended on 21 March and from there on we have been trying to sustain people with food and medical supplies.

“We have done round about 92 ferries where we moved about 62 tons of food and medical supplies to people,” Zurich added.

Colonel Zurich further explained that the donations have a tremendous impact on people who are still trapped in areas surrounded by water, which limits access to roads.

“There are a lot of people who are still staying in areas that are surrounded by water and that is where we as the SANDF come in and drop off the food at these different areas,” he explained.

The two-day operation will conclude on Wednesday afternoon when diplomats and high-ranking military officials are expected to hand over the final donations in a ceremony at the Chileka Airport in Blantyre, Malawi.

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