Cape Town fires displace thousands
Nine people were also left dead due to three raging fires that broke out in informal settlements around Cape Town.
@bell_jar tweeted this image of the blaze. Picture: Twitter
The affected areas over the weekend included the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay, where gale-force winds raged, according to the Cape Town Disaster Risk Management Centre.
“The fire occurred on Saturday, where 3 500 structures were burnt down, leaving more than 15 000 people displaced,” the centre’s head, Charlotte Powell, said.
Powell said while the cause of the blaze was yet to be determined, strong winds were a contributing factor, coupled with a densely populated area where structures were built without the requisite three-metre firebreak gaps.
Emergency shelters had been set up in the area with marquee tents, while mopping up operations had started, she added.
“We are working closely with the community. There needs to be a solid, clean and rehabilitated area for the community to be relocated to.”
Food and supplies were provided by non-governmental organisations and the general public. Following the cancellation of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, food donations scheduled for the race were donated to the victims, she said.
Powell appealed to communities to know their emergency contacts, and be aware when it came to using fire as a method to cook and to light up homes.
“Be careful when cooking inside your home. Make sure all candles are put out.”
She said emergency personnel had great difficulty in accessing damage this weekend, due to residents blocking the road while trying to salvage what they could.
The acting provincial leader, the DA’s Bonginkosi Madikizela, urged those affected by the fires to be vigilant for their own safety.