Cape Town shack fires leave trail of devastation

File photo. Members of the Ekurhuleni Emergency Service fight a factory fire, 05 March 2014, at the MC Meats factory in Germiston, Johannesburg. Picture: Alaister Russell

One person has died and over a 1000 people have been displaced following a number of shack fires across Cape Town on the weekend, the City’s disaster operations centre said on Sunday.

The centre’s acting head Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said that the fire which turned deadly occurred in the early hours of Saturday in Nomzamo in the Strand.

“The fire… claimed the life of a foreign national man, aged 29 years.”

Solomons-Johannes said that in the same incident, 22 people, including nine children, were displaced after seven homes were also destroyed.

Meanwhile, 1300 people from the Masiphumelele informal settlement in Fish Hoek, spent the weekend dealing with the loss of their shacks after a fire broke on Friday afternoon destroying over 250 dwellings.

“The City is currently undertaking a post-fire reblocking process,” said Solomons-Johannes.

He said the process involved the rearrangement of shacks into carefully determined clusters.

Other fires causing displacement and the destruction of homes were reported in Khayelitsha, Goodwood and at the Pholile Park informal settlement in Llwandle in the Strand.

Solomons-Johannes said the displaced were being given food, clothing, toiletries and blankets.

“The local authorities will probe and [conduct an] investigation into the occurrence of the fires.”

– Sapa

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