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South African Indian Community Mobilizes Earthquake Relief

In South Africa, the large Indian community is mobilizing relief efforts to help the survivors of the Christmas Day Asia earthquake.

Dr. TP Naidoo is director of the Indian Academy of South Africa in Mobeni in KwaZulu-Natal Province. He spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the earthquake and planned relief efforts.

He says, “I think in this hour of tragedy, especially when this tragedy has occurred over the period of goodwill to man and the festivities of Christmas and New Year. I think it is a very sad blow for humanity that so many people have died that people should identify with the tragedy purely from humanitarian point of view.”

Dr. Naidoo is hoping South Africans respond to the disaster. “And for our part in South Africa, we do hope that organizations and people of kindred spirit will feel kindly disposed for an appeal.”

He says in India alone, three quarters of a million people have been displaced. He says there are about 18,000 South African tourists in India but early reports have listed only one South African as missing. He bases this on reports from hotels and travel agents.

Dr. Naidoo says he’ll ask the South African government to provide planes to carry any relief supplies that have been collected. He says massive amounts of clothing and foodstuffs are needed, but he says the food should be in tins and not perishable.

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