Rescue SA opens donation line for Japan

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pretoria - South Africans have been urged to donate money to assist the South African rescue team in Japan with equipment and other resources, Rescue SA said on Wednesday.

People can donate the money via their cellphones by SMSing the word Japan to 36585 to donate R5. 

The money raised will go towards more equipment, better camping gear and other additional resources towards Rescue SA's mission.

The 50-strong team and rescue dogs have been helping to pull survivors as well as dead out of the rubble after a tsunami which was triggered by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit that country. 

"We are hoping to dispatch warm clothing to our volunteers in Japan in the coming days as they are working in freezing conditions," Rescue SA spokeswoman Samantha Botsis said in a statement.

Despite the freezing winds, hail storms and thick snow the team which left for Japan on 15 March, has been hard at work. 

From their Twitter updates the team seems to be in high spirits and they are keen to make a difference in the lives of the earthquake and tsunami survivors.

On Wednesday, the team was in Ogatsu which lies in a narrow ravine on a river mouth. When the tsunami funnelled down the gorge, it swept away the entire village.

"Worked right through a snow storm today but the team arrived home to a heater in the tent! Smiles all round," the team tweeted. 

The team also thanked South Africans for its support. "Team thanks everyone for all the support and messages of encouragement! Keep them coming." 

Rescue SA is an NGO whose purpose is to provide disaster relief and response to rescue operations and mass casualty both locally and internationally. 

It team is made up of volunteer emergency response specialists from the SA public and private sector emergency and ancillary services.