CoCT begins clearing of fire-hit areas ahead of Masiphumele rebuilding process

The City of Cape Town expects that it will take two days to clear the area and allow residents to start rebuilding.

Masiphumelele residents sifting through debris following last night’s blaze that destroyed around 1,000 homes. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Fire-affected Masiphumele residents who’ve started rebuilding their structures, now have to break them down.

On-site City of Cape Town officials said that this was to allow the area to be cleared and prepped for the rebuilding process.

Early assessments indicate between 4,000 to 5,000 people have been displaced following Thursday's devastating blaze.

The wind fans pockets of smoke still rising from the debris as residents pull together to help clear the area.

Some got going rebuilding their structures earlier on Friday afternoon. One man already had the outside wooden structure of his home erected, when he was told to break it down again.

In the midst of the devastation of blackened zinc sheets, ruined clothes and belongings there is laughter as a group of people seated together share food and soft drinks.

The charred steel frame of a small tricycle lies amongst the wreckage, an indication that a toddler once called that spot home.

Kilton Matavele has been living here for five years. He was planning on going home to Mozambique for Christmas but that’s gone up in smoke with his home.

"I bought all the stuff. I have two kids, one is 2-years-old, the other six-months-old... all the stuff is gone."

The city expects that it will take two days to clear the area and allow residents to start rebuilding.

In the meantime, it’s begun the process of declaring a local state of disaster, which will allow officials access to funds for the emergency relief material.

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