Ten thousand residents displaced by Imizamo Yethu fire

A staggering 10 000 Imizamo Yethu residents have been displaced by the fires that ravaged the informal settlement on Saturday March 11.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas was relayed this information by the City’s Fire and Rescue Services shortly after midday.
Two people are believed to have been killed in the fire to date.

Low-flying helicopters were still attempting to douse the blaze, believed to have started shortly before midnight on Friday. The cause of the fire is yet to be established.

According to the City’s Fire and Rescue Services, 12 fire trucks and 70 fire fighters were on the scene. Imizamo Yethu residents whose shacks were destroyed by the fire carried whatever possessions they could as they streamed towards the taxi rank at the bottom of the settlement.

Fire fighters have battled to reach the blaze in the upper reaches due to residents unintentionally blocking the roads in their attempt to flee with their belongings.

A devastated Lucky Raphela, who lost everything, told the Sentinel he had no idea where he was going to sleep.

“This is terrible. I think there are more than 1000 shacks gone. I’ve been here five years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Volunteers from the Domestic Animal Rescue group were present on the scene to save animals caught in the fire.

One resident told the Sentinel she had seen a number of dogs burning.

In the wake of the Imizamo Yethu fires, social worker’s from the Western Cape Social Development Department’s Metro South Regional office and officials from its Social Relief of Distress (SRD) programme are rendering trauma counselling coordinating relief services in conjunction with NGO partners and the Red Cross.

MEC Albert Fritz and the department are appealing to the public to assist by donating what they can (clothing, water, food, accommodation, personal hygiene items etc.) to various drop points. These include:

· Red Cross (21 Broad Road, Wynberg)

· Pick n Pay (Hout Bay),

· Hout Bay police station,

· Hout Bay fire station.
For more information, the public can contact contacting the department hotline on 0800 220 250 or the Red Cross on 021 797 5360.