Working with mosques, churches and community groups, Islamic Relief is a lifeline to families facing a food emergency after a week of violence in South Africa.

Over 200 people have died in the violence and families in KwaZulu Natal province, which has Durban as its largest city, urgently need food and other supplies.

“So many people in Durban, including our own staff, have gone without food for days, as they have been confined to their homes,” says Levona van Aarde, regional programme coordinator for Islamic Relief South Africa.

“People are desperate for the basics like bread, milk, baby formula, nappies and medication.’’

An estimated R14 billion (around £50,200,000) worth of stock has been stolen in KwaZulu Natal, Durban, with at least 800 shops looted.

“It’s been so traumatic, particularly for those in Durban. So many lives have been lost, including a family member of one of Islamic Relief’s staff. People have not been sleeping as they are terrified their homes will be broken into. The trauma will stay with them for a long time.”

Working with a church in Merebank, Islamic Relief teams distribute emergency aid.

A lifeline for KwaZulu families in crisis

Islamic Relief is on the ground in KwaZulu, the worst affected area, supporting families in crisis. Over the weekend we sent trucks of food into the area from Johannesburg.

To comply with restrictions on movement designed to halt the spread of coronavirus, and to ensure the swift distribution of aid, we are working with partner organisations, community groups, mosques and churches.

Our interventions include distributing hampers containing fresh produce, bread, milk, baby formula and hygiene items which will last a month for a household. Families are collecting their aid items from a local distribution point, while hampers are being delivered directly to the homes of older people and those with mobility difficulties.

In addition we are continuing planned humanitarian interventions in the area. Nearly 400 orphans and their families will receive Qurbani meat and food parcels from Islamic Relief.

Meanwhile in Johannesburg, where pockets of unrest erupted, Islamic Relief staff and volunteers are conducting clean-up operations.

Islamic Relief, which is closely monitoring other regions for possible flare ups, has sounded the alarm about the longer-term impact of the violence.

“There is a resounding call for help from the poorer communities in the outskirts of the main cities who will face the brunt of this unrest. Many people have lost their jobs due to attacks on businesses and unfortunately it will take a long time before they are fully functioning again,” adds Levona van Aarde.

With your support, Islamic Relief can continue to provide lifesaving aid in South Africa and beyond. Please donate now.