Durban fire leaves 150 people homeless and one dead

One of two serious shack fires in city in 24 hours

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Residents of Malacca Road informal settlement are trying to pick up the pieces after a fire ripped through their homes on Sunday morning. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

Sphamandla Khumalo died in a fire that ripped through Malacca Road informal settlement in Redhill, Durban, in the early hours of Sunday morning. The fire has left about 150 people homeless.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the fire was being investigated.

It started at about 2am according to residents and took about four hours to be brought under control. The chairperson of the settlement, Fikile Mtwa, said 75 homes were destroyed.

On Sunday some residents were clearing their plots while others were salvaging whatever they could.

City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the disaster management standby team responded immediately after the fire department brought the fire under control. A list of houses burnt, and numbers of people affected was compiled. The City is supplying food, blankets and mattresses.

“A decision was made to erect one marquee on a nearby field to accommodate the displaced people. Initial humanitarian relief was supplied by The Seed Foundation, a local NGO which works very closely with the Malacca community. Human Settlements undertook to supply building material at the earliest convenience … The marquee is used to accommodate and shelter those residents who did not seek alternate temporary accommodation,” Mayisela said.

Mtwa said: “What people need most at the moment is material to rebuild. The City’s disaster management promised us that they will be providing us with the material so that people can rebuild. They provided us with a tent where people are housed. I must commend how residents came together and helped by housing children to keep them comfortable during this cold weather.”

He said that the family of the deceased would need assistance with the burial.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Meanwhile News24 reported that another fire in KwaMashu destroyed 100 homes.

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TOPICS:  Fire Housing

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