Shack fires devastate Cape Town and Gauteng

An informal settlement. Picture: Michel Bega.

An informal settlement. Picture: Michel Bega.

Forty shacks have been destroyed in a fire in Gauteng, while in Cape Town a woman has been killed in another shack fire.

A cold front that has been sweeping the country has led to two reported shack fires so far.

EWN reported a woman has died in a fire in Mandela Park, part of the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay in the Western Cape.

According to the City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue services, 10 to 15 informal structures have burnt down.

“Four fire engines, four water tankers and one rescue vehicle with 30 firefighters were on the scene. No injuries have been reported and the probable cause of the fire has not been established as yet,” says spokesperson Theo Layne.

In Gauteng, shack fires have destroyed an estimated 40 homes.

SAfm news reported that on Monday a one-year-old girl was killed in a shack fire in Meadowlands Zone 5, Soweto. Another toddler sustained serious burn wounds was rushed to hospital.

Cold weather often causes fires in informal settlements, as residents attempt to warm themselves with fires and gas heaters, both of which can be extremely dangerous.

An article in the Dispatch Live gives 12 tips to avoid shack fires for those trying to keep warm .

A shack fire which killed five children at the beginning of June  was described by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a tragedy that brings home the dangers faced by thousands of vulnerable South Africans, especially during winter.

“This tragedy touches and affects all of us as South Africans, especially as we mark Youth Month, during which our nation’s attention is focused on creating a better life for young people,” the president said last month.

 

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