BHP donates millions for flood relief

Pretoria – Global mining, oil and gas company, BHP Billiton on Tuesday donated R18 million towards South Africa’s Government Disaster Fund.

BHP Billiton Donates

BHP Billiton Donates

During his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma announced an allocation of R800 million towards disaster relief efforts.

A few weeks ago government received a R1 million contribution from Absa Bank, while Vodacom made a R500 million contribution towards the same disaster relief efforts kitty; they also launched a SMS campaign to further raise more funds by smsing the word “Aid” to 38416.

Early this year, most parts of the country experienced heavy rains which severely damaged homes, schools and roads.

Various non-governmental and community-based organisations have also extended a helping hand to victims of the natural disasters, partnering with government in easing the pain to those affected.

Speaking at a handover event on Tuesday, Cooperative and Traditional Affairs Minister, Sicelo Shiceka said the contribution made by BHP Billiton vindicated the belief and conviction that it is only through partnerships with the private sector, other civil society bodies and communities that social and economic development challenges can be eliminated.

“It is only when government and each sector of our society go an extra mile, especially in times like these, that we can all quicken the pace of change in South Africa,” he said.

Shiceka said he was deeply appreciative of what BHP Billiton, other corporates, as well as non-governmental and community based organisations have contributed in the Disaster Relief Fund.

“To BHP Billiton, as well as Vodacom, Absa and all those NGOs, CBOs and private individuals who have come to the fore when these disasters struck: you  have all lived up to the promise that working together as South Africans, we can indeed do more,” he said.

It is estimated that at least 103 people have lost their lives in various incidents of natural disasters since mid-December 2010.

At least 13 043 formal and informal housing damaged with KZN having the highest share with close to 5000 dwellings affected; followed by the Free State with about 3000 and rest in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, North West and the Northern Cape.

Public infrastructure such as schools, roads, bridges, churches, clinics, dams, electrical poles, telephone lines, agricultural infrastructure and other public facilities have been affected.

Total estimated financial costs resulting from the various incidents are R3.6 billion plus an additional R409 million indicated by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

These costs are based on information coming from the Provincial Disaster Management Centres and Municipalities, but are still to be verified by experts.

Last week the National Joint Operations Centre (NatJOC) on Natural Disasters, led by the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), visited all the affected provinces to carry out level two assessments.

The results of which will be given to sector experts to conduct the final level assessment and verification of the cost of the damages.

Due to the La Nina effect on the global climate situation, in South Africa the rains are expected to continue up to May.

Contributions are still welcomed and the account details are:  the Standard Bank; Account Name: The South African Red Cross Society; Account Number: 070 822 808; Branch: Thibault Square; Branch Code: 020-909. – BuaNews