Durban - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has donated R10 million to assist the Republic of Congo after the March 4 explosions in Brazzaville that left hundreds dead.
The department will work through the charity organisation, Gift of the Givers, to reach the people in need. The money will be used to buy food, tents, blankets, water purification tablets, clothing, energy supplements, detergents and disinfectants.
The R10 million humanitarian aid package includes the sponsorship of two Iluyshin-76 aircraft with the joint capacity for 70 tons of supplies.
The first flight departs early Sunday morning and will be received by the South African Ambassador to Congo, Dr Manelisi Genge.
The department said in a statement that items purchased will augment the R8 million supplies already provided by Gift of the Givers.
Gift of the Givers chairperson, Imtiaz Sooliman, said 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," said Sooliman.
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 six-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.