THE ongoing freezing cold and rain has meant different things to different people. Please allow me to draw some comparisons, and I am not attempting to patronise or sit in judgment.
Inequality exists across the world. The sun may be out again, but the pools of water and mud will remain for at least two weeks, as will the empty tummies, for even longer.
A household in the more affluent suburbs may have the odd leak, or a problem with an overflowing pool, but has the wherewithal to buy electricity, food and petrol. This is not discomfort – there is food in the cupboard or the fridge.
Moving much further down the economic ladder finds us in sub-economic homes inhabited by residents of all races, where money and jobs, and therefore food and heating, are in short supply.
A friend shared a story of families in the northern suburbs, who are being assisted by a benevolent society who deliver food on a regular, but not daily basis. One of the residents had not eaten for three days and was so hungry that he was taking big bites out of still partially frozen bread.
We find the desperate situation of human beings trying to stay warm, dry and fed in informal dwellings, which are hardly waterproof, if at all. Jobs are scarce and the money a “casual” job can provide buys merely the essentials to purchase fuel and food on a day to day basis.
So what am I saying? Probably that those who have spare food, money, blankets and clothes in their cupboards should select a church or an NGO which helps the needy. There is a huge need when it is cold and wet.
Squatter camps are places of misery. Whilst huddling around your cosy fire or heater, consider taking just an hour to deliver something you can spare to churches which support or have soup kitchens.
The Salvation Army, Red Cross, Operation Hunger, the city’s Disaster Management Centre and ward councillors in deprived areas will welcome any donations.
If you have an unused dog kennel, please ask Animal Welfare or Animal Anti-Cruelty League or Cat Care to collect from you. The animals in the deprived areas are suffering terribly, too. Donate dog and cat food to these organisations, or just send a cheque. These NGOs need funding to help pay for sterilisations and food.
Every moral man and woman in this metro should do his or her little something. The local government Disaster Management Centre has been stretched by the continuing rain and bad weather, and the cupboards will soon be bare.
We cannot expect government to handle everything when such unexpected, ongoing disasters strike our city. You will sleep easier at night if you have done something to help.
Bernice Wright, DA councillor, Nelson Mandela Metro