Department of International Relations Contributes R10 Million Aid Package For Congo Explosion Victims

Gift of the Givers has been tasked by the Department of International Relations to procure, deliver and distribute appropriate, relevant and essential items to victims of the Brazzaville explosion of 04 March 2012.  DIRCO has made R10 million available for this humanitarian aid package including the sponsorship of two Iluyshin-76 aircraft with the joint capacity for 70 tons of supplies. 

Food, tents, blankets, water purification tablets, new clothing, high energy supplements, detergents and disinfectants are still in huge demand. The provision of highly select theatre equipment, surgical instruments, wound dressings, antibiotics and sterile disposable surgical supplies will be life-saving; xray films, mosquito nets and medicines in general will be extremely beneficial.  Contributing quality medical equipment to upgrade one specific hospital will make a huge impact on the standard of health care in Brazzaville.  We have decided to make this intervention in the military hospital where full co-operation and unrestricted access was granted to our teams. Having deployed 20 medical personnel in two hospitals, managing three theatres and intervening in two refugee camps has provided Gift of the Givers teams with a deep insight as to the essential needs of the Congolese people.  We are fortunate to make an informed decision to enhance the impact of the sizeable contribution made by DIRCO.  The items purchased will augment the R8 million supplies already provided by Gift of the Givers and will be selected in a manner to avoid duplication, add what's "missing" and double up what's still very necessary.

The first flight departs early Sunday morning, 01 April 2012, and will be received by the South African Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, Dr. Manelisi Genge, and by our partner on the ground, the Niall Mellon Township Trust Congo, project managed by South African, Bernadette Smyth.  We have the full co-operation of Dr. Jaimie Opfou, the acting ambassador at the Republic of Congo Embassy, as well as the Minister of Health, the Director-General of Health and the Minister of Human Relations in Congo.

This is the second intervention jointly by the Department of International Relations and Gift of the Givers in an African country in severe distress within a 6-month period.  DIRCO contributed R4 million towards the Somalia famine in October last year.  Collectively R9 million was contributed by various tiers of government towards the Somalia relief mission in cash and kind.  These included the Office of the Auditor-General, SARS, Members of Parliament,  Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal provincial governments and SAPS.  Another 480 tons of food aid was dispatched to Somalia yesterday bringing the total delivered thus far to 3295 tons.