Indian-origin S Africans join hands to provide relief assistance as country grapples with COVID-19
Indian-origin community members in South Africa have joined hands to provide relief to the needy citizens as the country, which went into a 21-day lockdown, grapples with the fast spread of the coronavirus that has infected over 4,100 people and caused one death.
Johannesburg: Indian-origin community members in South Africa have joined hands to provide relief to the needy citizens as the country, which went into a 21-day lockdown, grapples with the fast spread of the coronavirus that has infected over 4,100 people and caused one death.
Some 57 million people are restricted to their homes as South Africa went into a nationwide military-patrolled three-week lockdown from Friday in an attempt to halt the spread of the viral infection.
To make life easier for South Africans in this tough times, the NGO, Gift of the Givers, founded by Indian-origin Imtiaz Sooliman, is distributing protective gears, including masks and gloves, medical equipment and consumables to medicos and health institutions.
The organisation has already supplied medical equipment to three of the largest public hospitals in South Africa, including Johannesburg-based Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital.
In the capital city of Pretoria, two community organisations run by Indian-origin members have teamed up with religious institutions and the government to distribute one million soap bars to the needy and destitute people.
The organisations -- Operation SA and Laudium Disaster Management, have already started distributing soap bars to people living in overcrowded informal settlements.
The Operation SA in collaboration with the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) has also launched an emergency fund-raising drive to assist with essential food items to the vulnerable and destitute during the 21-day lockdown.
Operation SA spokesperson Yusuf Abramjee said the Muslim community has set up a multi-disciplinary response task team to co-ordinate a coherent community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Response Task Team, in consultation with Islamic organisations, Muslim professionals, business people, experts, community activists and volunteers across the country, will respond to scenarios as the disease spreads and impact communities across the country," he said.
In Durban, despite the serious health risk it might pose to him, renowned 92-year-old Indian-origin doctor Neelan Govender has vowed to keep his medical practice open to help others during the lockdown.
Although elderly people been recommended to stay indoors and self-isolate because of their high susceptibility to contract the virus, the doctor says he believes providing medical care for others is the ultimate sacrifice and one which he was willing to make.
"I am at very high risk, but I will take all the necessary precaution...two categories of patients come to me -- the acutely ill, who are more susceptible to coronavirus, and patients who suffer from chronic diabetes, high-blood pressure and cardiac problems. These people need attention all the time and I need to be there for them," said Govender, who has been practising medicine for over four decades.
Internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Anant Singh, a South African with Indian descent, has made available 10 of his most popular movies for free online viewing in an effort to entertain people staying indoors during the lock down.