More than 700 people left homeless after Cape Town fires

City has started co-ordinating help for the displaced

31 March 2024 - 18:09
By Penwell Dlamini
More than 700 people have been affected by fires in Cape Town. Stock photo.
Image: anyvidstudio/123RF More than 700 people have been affected by fires in Cape Town. Stock photo.

A total of 339 shacks were destroyed and 759 people left homeless in four fires in Cape Town on Saturday night.

Charlotte Powell, head of public awareness in the city's disaster risk management centre, said assessments have been completed on the four sites. 

“Disaster risk management has activated Gift of the Givers and Islamic Relief to provide humanitarian assistance at the various sites for the next five days. This includes hot meals, food parcels, mattresses, clothing, and hygiene packs to those affected. 

“Various city departments including electricity, solid waste and water & sanitation are assisting with clearing fire debris and attending to damaged/compromised infrastructure. 

“The informal settlements management department and the national human settlements department are actively engaging the affected communities to discuss plans for rebuilding,” Powell said. 

Emergency services had their hands full in Cape Town when fires ripped through informal settlements in Mfuleni, Zwezwe and two different areas of Langa leaving hundreds homeless. 

Powell said in Mfuleni 200 structures were destroyed, affecting 410 people. 

At the rest of the sites, affected residents have taken up shelter with family and friends in the areas. In Doornbach (ZweZwe) a fire destroyed 71 structures, affecting 158 residents. 

In Langa, a fire reported just before 7.30pm on Saturday destroyed 36 structures, leaving 123 people affected. 

The second incident, in the same vicinity, destroyed 32 structures, with 68 people affected.