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TUESDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2021 I For immediate release
Emergency response teams from The Salvation Army in Southern Africa have been providing support for people stranded at South Africa’s borders as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
Enhanced border control measures to help minimise the spread of the disease, including a new strain, have created delays at closed borders, and for travellers awaiting the outcome of coronavirus testing.
The Salvation Army teams – each consisting of 11 people with specially provided personal protective equipment – have been working at the border posts connecting South Africa with Zimbabwe, Mozambique, eSwatini and Lesotho.
At each location, people trying to cross the border have been delayed by up to six days in extreme heat, resulting in dehydration, heat exhaustion, malnutrition and significant stress. In some instances, queues of trucks waiting to convey goods across the border have stretched back for more than 15 kilometres.
The Salvation Army’s Territorial Leaders for Southern Africa, Colonels Daniel and Tracey Kasuso, formed part of the team on the Beitbridge border with Zimbabwe, while Chief Secretary and Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries Lt. Colonel Jabulani and Fikile Khoza were part of Lebombo border team with Mozambique.
Health information is being distributed in each location, along with packs containing snacks and hygiene items. Each traveller – up to 800 in each distribution – is given 1.5 litres of bottled water, long-life milk, bread, energy bars, fruit and sweet treats, as well as a bar of soap, a wash cloth and hand sanitiser.
Mindful of the elevated risk of human trafficking across country borders in such challenging times, The Salvation Army is also providing leaflets to drivers and passengers containing information on how to be alert to the risks and reduce the likelihood of susceptibility. A new public health poster campaign, developed at The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters in London, is being translated into Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and other southern African languages.
Captain Velani Buthelezi, PR Secretary for The Salvation Army in Southern Africa, says: “We are providing relief at these border posts to people in real need. In the hot conditions, drivers and their passengers are suffering badly, and we are trying to assist. At the same time, we are creating awareness of the dangers of human trafficking, which is an ongoing priority for us.”
The emergency response is set to carry on, particularly at the eSwatini and Lesotho borders, as regulations continue to be subject to change. The Salvation Army is coordinating with South African government agencies including the Departments of Health, Social Development, Home Affairs and the Border Control Police, as well as CoRMSA (Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa) and several other non-governmental organisations such as Gift of the Givers.
The Salvation Army is an international movement and evangelical part of the universal Christian Church and has a professional record in rehabilitating and accommodating trafficking trade victims and addressing social injustice in a systematic, measured, proactive and Christian manner through its International Social Justice Commission.
ISSUED BY QUO VADIS COMMUNICATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE SALVATION ARMY
Media Contact: Ruth Coggin
Quo Vadis Communications
CLICK HERE to e-mail Ruth Coggin
Client Contact: Captain Velani Buthelezi
Public Relations Secretary
CLICK HERE to e-mail Velani Buthelezi