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1 person dead, over 1,000 left homeless after Masiphumelele shack fire

The City of Cape Town said the blaze destroyed 256 structures, affecting more than 1,200 people.

A resident walks through the rubble after a shack fire in Masiphumelele on 29 July 2019. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - More than 1,000 residents in Masiphumelele were still reeling after a fire destroyed their homes in the early hours of Monday morning.

The City of Cape Town said the blaze destroyed 256 structures, affecting more than 1,200 people.

During the mop-up operations officials found a body under a sheet of corrugated iron. The victim had sustained extensive burn wounds.

A look of disbelief and sadness was etched on the face of Eugenia Siwela, one of the hundreds of Masiphumelele residents who’ve lost everything.

Siwela said this was the third time she has lost her home in a big fire since moving to the township more than a decade ago.

“I woke up, went outside and saw the fire coming to our house. I called the neighbours, they were fast asleep, so we ran because the fire was big and it was coming towards us. We didn’t have a chance to take our things.”

Several police officers were in the area, standing at the remnants of a structure; it was there where a burnt body was found.

The City of Cape Town was providing emergency shelter in the Masiphumelele Community Hall and the Methodist Church.

The wind was getting stronger, blowing around iron sheets and other debris and the impending cold front would hamper rebuilding efforts.

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