Two dead in two shack fires since Friday in Dunoon
About 50 structures destroyed leaving 200 people homeless
Two fatal fires since Friday in informal informal settlements in Dunoon have left two dead and nearly 200 people homeless.
On Friday, a fire in Bhekela informal settlement just before midnight destroyed 29 shacks and left 114 people homeless. One person died, but their identity has not yet been confirmed.
On the day of the fire, Viwe Sinxotsha had planned to celebrate her 44th birthday with a party, but instead she lost all her possessions, her home and a month’s groceries.
“I had bought a cake and stocked up on snacks, bottles of juice, and two cases of soft drinks … All turned to ashes,” said Sinxotsha. “I only managed to grab my purse, which held my ID and bank cards.”
Since then she has been trying to source building materials for herself, her husband and two small children, but the local hardware stores are unwilling to give credit.
Then on Monday, another fire broke out, this time in Ekupholeni informal settlement, also known as Ibaleni, claiming another life, destroying 20 more shacks, and leaving 77 people homeless.
Community leader Agreement Yaphi said he heard people screaming just after 10pm. He and other residents did their best to try and contain the fire, but they could not quench the flames.
Forensics removed a body at about 2am on Tuesday, he said. We have been unable to confirm the name of the person.
Yaphi believes illegal electricity connections started the fire, but this has not been confirmed.
Noluvuyo Linkelo, whose three-room shack was destroyed, had been looking forward to hot showers as she had just installed a flush toilet, a shower with modern tiles, and a geyser before the fire erazed her home.
“I lost everything – ID, SASSA cards, child birth certificates,” said Linkelo.
Charlotte Powell, from City of Cape Town disaster risk management, confirmed the two fatalities and the numbers of fire victims left homeless.
“SASSA has been informed to provide humanitarian assistance. Residents are rebuilding,” said Powell.
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