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Bleak Christmas for Valhalla Park

At least 1,000 people have lost their homes in a devastating blaze which ripped through the area.

Valhalla Park homes ablaze, 23 December 2013. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - More than 1,000 people have been left homeless following a massive shack fire in Valhalla Park near Cape Town on Monday.

Fire-fighters spent several hours on the scene where the blaze has now been extinguished.

City officials say 350 of the 585 dwellings in the area were destroyed.

At least 18 people were hurt with some people treated for smoke inhalation and dehydration.

Children and their parents were seen walking around the burnt out remains of their homes, sifting through the rubble for whatever could be salvaged.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says the City of Cape Town will assist the latest shack fire victims.

"[We] will do whatever is possible for us to help the community to rebuild their structures."

The news comes on the back of what the city says will be a massive effort to stem the problem of shack fires in the province.

It says about R2.8 million has been spent on replacing housing structures for residents left destitute after their informal dwellings were gutted over the past few weeks.

But the city's Tandeka Gqada says residents are being educated about the dangers of leaving fires unattended.

But she also warns the proximity of the homes to each other and the materials used means the fires, if they start, are difficult to stop from spreading.

More than 60 separate fires have gutted shacks across the Cape Peninsula in recent weeks, affecting more than 500 residents.

In one recent incident in Philippi, about 200 people were left homeless.

On Saturday, a seven-year-old boy died and his five-year-old brother was taken to hospital after a fire gutted their home in Delft.

The Red Cross Children's Hospital says doctors and nurses are closely monitoring the boy who sustained over 50 percent burn wounds.

They say his condition remains serious.