Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

An outbreak of flu and diarrhoea among children has gripped foreign nationals being sheltered in churches and police stations in KwaZuluNatal.

Medical students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal are helping overworked nurses and other medical staff to care for the sick.

Student volunteer Matabo Hlahani said about 15 student doctors would assist the sick and treat those injured during the xenophobic violence.

"We started early this morning at the Emmanuel Cathedral, where many of the 300 foreign nationals have flu," Hlahani said. "Most of the children have diarrhoea."

She said last week there had been more than 600 foreign nationals at the centre but half of them had returned to their countries.

"We are also helping victims who suffered stab wounds, burns and other injuries when they were attacked," she said.

MEC for social development Meshack Radebe ordered his officials to remove young children and their parents from all temporary camps at police stations and take them to places of safety around the city.

Meanwhile, the KwaZuluNatal Organisation for Civic Rights said most political refugees among the 3000 victims of xenophobic attacks in the region want to be resettled in other countries.

Nonpolitical people who came to SA for a better life also want to return to their homes but want to be compensated before they leave.