Close to a thousand people have been left displaced in Imizamo Yethu following a shack fire in the early hours of yesterday morning. Picture: Supplied
Close to a thousand people have been left displaced in Imizamo Yethu following a shack fire in the early hours of yesterday morning. Picture: Supplied

Imizamo Yethu fire leaves almost 1 000 people homeless

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Aug 16, 2021

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Cape Town - Almost a thousand people have been left homeless in Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, after a massive fire ripped through 250 shacks in the early hours of on Sunday morning.

This is the second devastating fire that the area has experienced within a year, after a shack fire erupted in the area in September and left 800 people displaced.

Hout Bay ward councillor Roberto Quintas said fire services were able to contain the blaze, and no serious injuries have been reported.

“The City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management has already dispatched a team to investigate and begin registering all those affected by the fire and assess the requirements of other service departments.

“Solid Waste will be actioned to clear and clean up sites as swiftly as possible so that people can begin rebuilding as soon as possible. Water and sanitation, as well as electricity, will also be informed of where and what requires reconnection and repairs to services,” he said.

Quintas said no City facilities can be utilised for immediate shelter because of Covid-19 protocols and policy, and the City was unable to provide starter kits because of grant funding budget cuts by the national Department of Human Settlements.

“The database registry of fire-affected persons will be provided to both Sassa and the City’s partner NGOs, as well as Gift of the Givers, and will assist in the roll-out of blankets, foodstuffs, vanity and sanitary packs, as well as hot meals. Churches and NGOs who have space and are willing to assist with shelter may do so,” said Quintas.

Thula Thula founder Joanne Chemaly said this was the biggest fire in the past three years in which the organisation had to assist victims.

Chemaly said two lives had been lost, including a pregnant mother, in the last two minor fires this year. She said they were thankful that no life was lost this time.

“We are going to spend a day doing registration so that we can provide proper relief, like groceries and toiletries, including donated items, like bedding, clothing and small kitchen items. The City no longer provides material for structures to be rebuilt, so each resident is responsible for their own materials, and currently we don’t know when everyone will rebuild their structures for us to provide other items,” she said.

Chemaly said community halls have been opened up, and other people had been accommodated by families and friends in the area.

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