Earlier this month, the unforgiving Garden Route fire swept through Knysna and surrounding areas, destroying almost everything in its path. Fuelled by strong winds from the Cape Storm of 2017, it was the most devastating natural disaster to hit Knysna in recorded history. Sadly, over the course of a week, 9 people lost their lives, 846 houses were destroyed, and approximately 10 000 people were displaced. While nothing can be done to erase the effects of this devastating fire, now is the time is look forward; for the community – and country – to work together to restore this beautiful town to its former glory, and for it to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
And given the inspiring news coming out of Knysna, which illustrates the determined spirit of the Knysna people, the process of rebuilding has well and truly begun. This is no better summarised than by Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies, as she heartily proclaimed, “Knysna will rise, and we will rise stronger than ever before.”
Whether you live in Knysna, or hundreds of kilometres away, there are numerous ways you can help. Here, we outline a few:
There are various drop off locations in Knysna, and throughout South Africa, where you can donate a vast array of items intended to assist the hundreds of people slowly get back on their feet. Fantastically, DHL Express has offered to deliver these donations to Knysna from the allocated points around the country, free of charge. Pick n Pay has also stepped up to the plate and is delivering any online purchases through its online-shopping portal in aid of Knysna Fire Relief. Find out more, here.
The following items are currently in high demand:
• Building tools
• Kitchen Utensils
• Cleaning Materials
• Electrical Appliances
• Nappies and baby bottles
• Sanitary towels
One of the simplest and yet effective ways to assist the victims of the Knysna fire is with monetary donations. However big, or small, every little bit counts, and every cent is greatly appreciated. On 15 June 2017, the Knysna Council established the Knysna Disaster Relief Fund, which allows for the receipt and control of donated money from banks and other organisations.
The official account for Knysna relief is:
Name: Emergency Fund
Nedbank account no. 1147920699
Ref: Knysna Fire
Swift code: NEDSZAJJ
Mopping-up operations have begun over the 300km terrain damaged by the fire, and Edge of Africa, an award-winning volunteer travel organisation specialising in community and conservation projects, welcome any and all volunteers in Knysna. Find out all about volunteering for Edge of Africa, here.
Animal Welfare Donations
Not only have people been affected by the fires but many furry friends have too. The National Council of SPCAs have dispatched two teams to assist any animals that have been injured and you can help them by sending an SMS worded ‘CARE’ to 38018 to make a donation. The Knysna Animal Welfare Society is also assisting with all animal related matters and is in need of food, blankets, and pet food, as well as volunteers to help look for lost pets.
Turbine Hotel & Spa Efforts
When the fire hit Knysna, the Turbine Hotel & Spa operated as rescue centre to countless people evacuated and displaced. While it’s now business as usual at our establishment, we are still doing our bit to help out. At the Turbine Spa, for every 60 or 90 minute massage booked, R100 will be donated to the Knysna Disaster Relief Fund. To support this fantastic initiative, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +27 (0) 44 302 5746.
For more information on how to do your part in aiding the rebuild of Knysna, keep an eye on Turbine Hotel & Spa Facebook page and blog.