Fire leaves scores homeless in East London

09 August 2018 - 15:13 By Chris Gilili‚ Groundup
Firefighters extinguish the last embers of a shack fire that destroyed over 20 homes in Duncan Village on August 8, 2018.
Firefighters extinguish the last embers of a shack fire that destroyed over 20 homes in Duncan Village on August 8, 2018.
Image: Chris Gilili

Fire destroyed over 20 shacks in Duncan Village‚ East London‚ on Wednesday afternoon‚ leaving scores of people homeless in Site C. Residents tried to combat the fire using water buckets‚ but the flames were too high.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. However‚ residents say they know in which shack it started. The owner was at work. By the time firefighters arrived the damaged had been done.

“I lost everything in this fire – my ID‚ clothing and all the food I had bought for this month… I don’t even know where I will sleep‚” said Thobeka Mafanya.

“This fire happens as we are already waiting for housing to be provided for us. We already have site numbers in Chicken Farm‚ and a promise to move us has been made several times by the City‚” said one of the fire victims.

“Now‚ we do not want any bungalows or temporary structures. We want to be moved straight into our houses. Almost all of us here have site numbers. A solution must be made this week‚” said a resident.

Ward 7 councillor Clara Morollong-Yekiso said the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality will provide disaster relief. “Right now we are compiling a list of all the fire victims‚ number of family members from each shack‚ and the damage caused. Thereafter disaster [management] will provide help as they see fit. That should happen today [Thursday]‚” said Morollong-Yekiso.

She also indicated that a hall situated next to her office will be made available for the fire victims in the meantime. She did not guarantee that any temporary housing structures will be made available for the families.

Morollong-Yekiso said the move to formal housing was a process being handled by the municipality. She said people needed to attend the community meetings to understand how far that process had gone.

  • This article was originally published by GroundUp
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