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Gift of the Givers provides a helping hand to Boksburg after devastating explosion

Annisa Essack |
26 December 2022 | 10:30 AM CAT
2 min read

Photo Credit: Gift of the Givers

Residents of Boksburg continued to pick up the pieces following the deadly gas tanker explosion on Saturday, making it a bleak Christmas for many families affected by the horrific explosion, which claimed the lives of 15 people and injured more than 160.

The explosion involved a gas tanker under the bridge exploding, collapsing the bridge, and damaging parts of the OR Tambo Hospital nearby. There were scenes of absolute devastation, as charred bodies were strewn across the street and burnt casualties were searched desperately for help.

Mufti Yusuf Moosagie spoke to Gift of the Giver’s founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman about the destruction in the wake of the explosion.

According to Dr Sooliman, the damage in the area is extensive, with two homes impacted and cars and other motor vehicles also torched. The major damage was to the area’s bridge and railway line and the hospital, which had to have patients evacuated.

“The theatre became non-functional in the emergency department; patients had to be moved from the ICU to further away from there because there was worry about a structural collapse.”

He explained that the physical damage was great, but the psychological damage was far greater as the small community experienced such a massive impact within a few seconds.

He applauded the authorities – first responders, firefighters, ambulance personnel, health care services and others, for their swift response. He added that the reaction from residents was the most amazing as they rallied from around the area.

“The response was absolutely phenomenal, overwhelming. And this is something that stands out about South Africans. That we always get together when there’s crisis.”

Speaking on the interventions provided by the Gift of the Givers, Sooliman said that four areas they focused on – ambulances, specialised medical teams to support existing groups. The challenge they faced was obtaining burn dressings, pain medications and other relevant items required for treating burn victims as pharmaceutical companies had shut down for the holidays. But the organisation successfully negotiated the emergency items to assist with treating the affected patients over the next few days.

The organisation also assisted in obtaining food, drinks, and basic support for the emergency personnel working on the ground.

According to Sooliman, the most pressing issue is ensuring the hospital is repaired, as no new admissions can be taken. The breach of the railway line and the bridge is also critical. Support will be required for the residents whose homes were damaged, and funeral expenses for those who have passed and those injured will also need help. However, this can only be managed once more information is made available as the clean-up operations continue.

Listen to the full interview with Mufti Yusuf Moosagie and Dr Imtiaz Sooliman of the Gift of the Givers on Sabahul Muslim.



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