10 July, 2017
Lonza Employee Responds to Knysna Fire Relief Aid Efforts
In what has been described as the biggest disaster
in South Africa, the Knysna fires saw one of the largest deployment of
fire-fighters and volunteers from all over the country. Among those who
responded was Lonza Wood Protection's employee, Rory Milne.
With the full backing of Lonza, Rory returned to
his hometown to join the force of volunteers putting their weight behind the
fire relief aid efforts for displaced families and fire-fighters battling the
blaze. "I grew up in Kynsna and still have family living there.
After two days of following the terrible ordeal
online, I made the decision to
go and help wherever I could," explained Rory.
"We recognised that this called for a time for everyone
to pull together. There was no hesitation in our decision to cover the cost of
Rory's flights from Durban to Port Elizabeth and for the hire of an SUV to make
it possible for him to transport much-needed goods to those in need along the
Garden Route," said Doug Sayce, General Manager of Lonza Wood Protection.
On his arrival, the first stop was at Makro to load
up supplies specifically for the fire-fighters. By this time people had heard
about the trip and began donating. With this unexpected financial support, a
u-turn was made for a second stop at Makro, this time adding 20 pairs of work
boots as there were reports of fire-fighters' boots melting on the job.
Half the goods were delivered to the temporary
operation's fire base in Knysna. Before leaving for Plettenberg Bay to deliver
the balance of the goods, Rory met up with a friend who was also assisting with
aid distribution, despite the fact that their home had been ravaged by the fire
and burned to the ground.
devastation was everywhere, but I continued to look for gaps in the aid
distribution and heard about a portable
toilet hire company that had lost many toilets in the blaze along with a
private residence. Despite this loss, they were concentrating their efforts on
getting all the existing toilets in operation as sanitation was incredibly
important at this point in time. To support this remarkable effort, 500 toilet
rolls were sourced and supplied. Another gap identified was socks for the
fire-fighters, which after almost a week were literally wearing thin. 221 pairs
of socks were purchased and delivered to the fire base operations," recalls Rory.
Satisfied that the short-term needs on the
humanitarian front were met, the focus shifted to wildlife and their affected
habitats. Contact was made with
organisations in the area and Rory was connected to a group of people who were starting
to co-ordinate a movement to care for these animals. A truck load of feed was
purchased and dispatched to a stable in Rheenendal, which was one of the worst
affected areas in respect of natural vegetation. The feed stock enabled a
group, dubbed ‘Eden Be Needin', to get multiple private vehicles loaded and
local volunteers then distributed Lucerne, pellets and bird seed accordingly.
bravery of the Garden Route residents, their
tireless efforts and their ability to put their own loss aside was inspiring.
Thank you to the unconditional support from various individuals, companies,
Round Table SA and my own employer - Lonza Wood Protection - who made it
possible for me to play a small role in helping a community survive this
disaster," concluded Rory.
For product information,
visit Lonza's website at www.lonzawoodprotection.com
Source: Lonza Wood Protection