Devastating shack fire in Khayelitsha leaves hundreds homeless

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Hundreds of people have been left homeless, following a devastating shack fire at the TTS informal settlement, in Town Two, Khayelitsha. Two people died in the blaze which also destroyed around 150 informal structures. However, this number may increase once the site has been completely assessed.

Homeless, with nowhere to go and nothing left. These residents have lost their dwellings and all their belongings after a fire raged through the area where they live.

“The fire started yesterday and there was too much wind so we couldn’t save anything. I’m here, I don’t have anything, just as you see me now, I don’t have anything to eat, anything to wear, all the properties of the house are not there,” says resident Fezeka Mafuya.

“We feel so bad. We have nothing, no food, no blankets, nothing, we are homeless now. We have children here, parents and we don’t have anywhere to go,” says another resident Lunga Matafeni.

Humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers is providing relief to the affected residents. Gift of the Givers’ Western Cape Coordinator Ali Sablay says, “We’ll be assisting the community with hot meals, blankets, personal hygiene items and baby care packs. We will be here for the next few days. We are engaging with the disaster risk management teams. I was on the phone with SASSA, they are also en route here to do their assessments, but we are sitting with the community to get the exact amount of structures that were burnt out and the amount of community members affected.”

The City of Cape Town says its teams are still conducting assessments.

“Our disaster risk management and informal settlements teams have been activated and we are on scene with the community to assist as far as we can with NGO partners and we’ll continue pushing with our national counterparts to make sure we have a quick turnaround time in starter-kit relief,” says Carl Pophaim, City of Cape Town MAYCO Member for Human Settlements.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.

Video: About 200 shacks gutted in an overnight fire in Khayelitsha