Seeing the people that I have grown up with now homeless with over 500 houses destroyed has left my soul shattered. All of us are heartbroken.
We all feel helpless and devastated with what has happened and all that we are asking for is a little bit of help if you can. Every cent counts. You can see just what your help can do once you've scrolled down to the bottom.
All donations are used ONLY for goods purchased which are sourced from the most cost effective supplies. Strictly no funds will be used for administration or labour, all your donations go directly to purchasing contents of relief boxes for those in need.
Reports of a storm hitting the Western Cape surfaced late last week where heavy rains were expected, what was completely unexpected was the fact that one simple strike of lightning could cause chaos at such CATASTROPHIC levels. That, and that there were wind speeds of 120km/hr. There are now 26 separate fires that have affected this beloved town, the surrounding suburbs and the already impoverished townships, leading to huge chaos, distress and wreckage. Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless in the worst fire in South Africa’s history and the town is now in a state of emergency.
With high windspeed affecting the area, it did not take long for the flames to engulf huge proportions of the Knysna forests, taking along with it peoples homes. As it stands, reports account for up to 100 homes being destroyed by this inferno; but assessments can only be conducted once things have calmed down. Fires remain out of control and currently there are still new fires brewing that are needing to be terminated. Many had to escape and were rescued by boat to safety, as there were no other possible escape routes for them as they were completely surrounded and trapped by this inferno.
Most families in Knysna, as a result, have been displaced, both in the suburbs as well as the townships and many are still unaccounted for. The poor and underprivileged have lost all of their worldly possessions without any insurance to fall back on for their futures. Old age homes, hospitals, schools and many other essential buildings have been evacuated and there is a huge need for resources as they are now under extraordinary strain. Our town is surrounded by chaos and the Knysna community is obviously in a state of devastation, shock and is deeply traumatised.
All relief teams are currently under extreme pressure and are incredibly overwhelmed. Most people have been sent to a clearing where they are desperately clinging onto the hope that they will be gifted rain. People are praying for rain, they are praying for help, they are in need of for YOUR help.
The latest news has only accounted for eight deaths, one family of three who just could not escape in time, another person suffered a reported heart attack after being caught in the thick smoke. Although, the true reflection of the fatalities cannot be determined as of yet. The accounts of death tolls and injuries can only be known once morning has broken.
The mayor of Knysna herself stated that she has not seen such a disaster in the 40+ years that she has lived in the town and had called for the evacuation of over 68 000 residents.
KNYSNA IN DEVASTATION:
Here are just a few pictures and videos that show the aftermath of the fire.
WHAT YOUR HELP WILL DO:
There is a large cry for food, blankets, eye drops, clothes, water, anything to help with the survival of our locals as well as the relocation of all those affected to safer areas. Money to help with basic human needs is what we are pleading for. There has also been mass initiatives to save the animals of Knysna, where some have luckily been rescued, but they too, are in grave need of your help as many are injured and sick.
We are in direct contact with Peter Myers, the Deputy Mayor of Knysna who is advising us on a moment to moment basis of what the essential needs are and where best to allocate the funds. We obtained permission from The Knysna Waterfront Management to use an allocated area as a distribution point for relief boxes. Our first purchase has been 7 large Kennels from AGRI Knysna and Penny Mainwaring will distribute the kennels and pet food and pet blankets.
I will personally withdraw the funds and transfer them directly to Penny Mainwaring, our main benefactor.
Penny runs a Safe House for abused women and children in the Township as well as two soup kitchens, In addition she has Animal Welfare projects. Non-Profit Organisation Number: 082-490
As more of your donations and funds are received, we will put together priority two packages to add to the existing priority one packages. We are looking at this disaster from both a short-term and long-term standpoint.
Our Primary Priorities:
As we gain more support through Donations we will extend to Priority 2:
NEED FOR WATER:
The fires are still raging, there is smoke rife in the air and people are finding it difficult to breath. Sources have told us about a major water shortage and that much of the water available is contaminated. There has been a drought in the Western Cape recently that left people having to utilise it for basic needs only and therefore our cries for water could not be more pertinent.
How this all happens.
We secure the most cost effective source, transfer funds directly to the supply companies - AGRI, Pick n Pay, Ackermans. Funds are will also be paid directly to Penny Mainwaring’s Non-Profit organisation to obtain the goods directly.
In all of our hearts, Knysna is the most beautiful place in South Africa not only because of its scenery but because of the diversity and welcoming nature of its people. As Knysna is tourist dependent, acquiring funds to aid an emergency such as this will be extremely difficult and this is where you can make all the difference in the world. Every cent of all donations will provide some relief for parents and children as well as animals and this is all we ask. YOU can make all the difference!
Why this is an important cause to me (Kaylee Haman)
I am Kaylee Haman, I grew up and lived in Knysna up until a couple of years ago when I left my family and travelled to Australia to study abroad and join my boyfriend, Cael de Rooy. He is from South Africa as well and his whole family lives in Knysna. As a family we are heartbroken with what has happened to our friends and our community. Over 500 Families homes have burnt to the ground, most people escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. This trauma has left them destitute, despairing and devastated. My boyfriend, his family and I have started a collaborative GoFundMe campaign to help our town, Knysna. We are collecting donations from expatriates living in Australia and worldwide. We have a team of volunteers on the ground in Knysna being spearheaded by my cousin Taylia Meese to action relief efforts with our funding, packing and distributing relief packages.
Rest In Peace Bradley Richards
Sourced from Knysna-Plett Herald
We have just learned that one of our firefighter's have died fighting for our community against this devastation. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this brave young hero
- Kim Kristal
- Rodney Rawlinson
- Jocelyn Hall
- Peter Julia Hugo
- Debra Meese
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