With drought still ravaging South Africa, at least CLAW’s got power!

Claw

Rain in January brought some relief to a parched South Africa and many pictures were posted of farming folk dancing as the big drops came down.

But it was far too little, far too late. As temperatures in Gauteng rise once more into the 30s, broadcast news is full of talk of the impact: potatoes have risen in price by 120% since this time last year, for example; the harvest of maize, a staple food for the poor, is expected to fall far below the norm.

And water remains a risk. In small town South Africa, people are still queueing up daily to get their ration of 10 litres, and volunteer organisations head out several times a week in convoys of trucks bringing bottled water, collected and donated by ordinary people, to those in need.

The people and animals Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) serves remain on a knife-edge, stressed and exhausted by heat and the ever-present risk of dehydration, while nutritional food becomes harder to afford, for human and animal alike.

Relief will be slow in coming and uncertain. What’s more, CLAW has had to run part of its operations on the most basic of amenities for several years now. Why?

The area in which the clinic is situated, Durban Deep, has suffered rioting, a breakdown of law and order, and general mayhem resulting in a complete loss of access to the power grid and water supply.

The veterinarian and veterinary nurses had to seek accommodation at premises some 13 kilometres away, sharing space with FORA (Friends of Rescued Animals), where the power and running water necessary for surgery is available.

Meanwhile, back at Durban Deep, the CLAW staff did the best they could with what they had; after all, some sort of service had to remain up and running.

Many animals arrive here every day needing vaccinations, tick and flea treatments, immediate treatment for biliary, treatment for wounds, sores, dehydration and more.

Anything more complex has to be ferried across to the ‘hospital’ premises; and if an animal who has been poisoned is brought in, CLAW’s staff have been reliant on neighbouring vets closer than the hospital, who kindly give emergency care that often saves lives.

Now, at last CLAW is able to think about ramping up their Durban Deep service again – thanks to a wonderful and very practical donation.

Solar Power SA installed solar panels, donated by Trina Solar, across a north-facing roof, connected them to Inatech backup batteries, et voila! The lights are on again, the plugs are working, and the staff are walking around with happy grins on their faces.

“I love animals, and love to support animal welfare – and I love solar power and what it can do to save our world,” says Solar Power SA managing director Hendrik Roux.

While the clinic is still waiting to be reconnected to the water system, a pump has been installed to pump water to the taps inside thanks to the kind donation from Eezi Pumps, so handy running water is available once more.

--MS

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