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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Gqeberha blaze: Firefighters keeping close watch for flare-ups

Gift of the Givers provided firefighters with hot meals, energy drinks, energy bars, biscuits and Eyegene.

The fire in the New Rest informal settlement in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, was contained on Wednesday. Firefighters are monitoring the situation for flare-ups.

Residents in New Rest were evacuated from their homes and moved to the Seaview Community Hall on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Gqeberha fire

This after the blaze began in Beachview and Seaview before spreading to New Rest on Tuesday afternoon.

Working on Fire and Gift of the Givers assisted firefighters in their efforts to evacuate the region.

“Two Huey helicopters and a Spotter plane have been made available for aerial firefighting support in the Seaview area outside Gqeberha,” Working on Fire said on Wednesday.

Water bombs and 1 200 litres of water

Gift of the Givers also equipped aircraft with water bombs – approximately 1 200 litres of water and foam – to quell the blaze in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

Acting Head of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Fire Department, Wayne Hendriks, requested air support around midnight to water-bomb the fire.

Gift of the Givers, who facilitated the air support, said the “challenges were multiple”: The wind was too strong and was expected to increase in speed on Wednesday.

Photo: Gift of the Givers

Working on Fire said: “The aircraft were on standby in the Western Cape for the Province’s summer fire season and were made available by the provincial Disaster Management Centre to be deployed to Gqeberha after a request from Gift of the Givers”.

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Gqeberha water crisis

Meanwhile, “there were fires in twelve different areas – trucks couldn’t access many areas and they were running out of water”.

Gqeberha is currently experiencing a water crisis, and all water sources were too far from the fires, which meant trucks couldn’t refill timeously.

In addition, Hendriks said “the firefighters are exhausted”.

“Gift of the Givers were on site yesterday providing support to firefighters, disaster management and the police, and it was a collaborative effort to evacuate inhabitants of the Sea View informal settlements to community halls.”

Firefighters were also provided with hot meals, energy drinks, energy bars, biscuits and Eyegene.

Meanwhile, the evacuated residents were provided with hot meals, bottled water, blankets and mattresses, hot meals and bottled water.

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Anyone who wishes to contribute may do so by visiting http://www.giftofthegivers.org/make-a-difference or contacting 0800 786 911