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Fire-hit Masiphumelele residents to spend Christmas in temporary accommodation

Thousands of people lost everything when a massive fire swept through a part of an informal settlement last week Thursday, which razed more than 1,000 homes.

Masiphumelele residents salvage what they can in the aftermath of a fire on 18 December 2020. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

MASIPHUMELELE - Thousands of Masiphumelele residents made homeless and destitute by fire will have to spend Christmas in temporary accommodation.

Thousands of people lost everything when a massive fire swept through a part of an informal settlement last week Thursday, which razed more than 1,000 homes.

ALSO READ: CoCT still working to ensure Masiphumelele residents have homes rebuilt soon

The City of Cape Town had hoped to clear the affected area within two days, but the devastation was just too great to make that happen.

Last week, Mayor Dan Plato requested that Masiphumelele be declared a local disaster area in order to access national government funds needed to supply residents with building supplies.

Plato’s spokesperson, Lyndon Khan, on Monday said that crews were working as fast as they could.

“Kits can begin to be distributed once the funding comes through and all necessary site reestablishment has taken place. This will not happen overnight as it is a very complex and intricate process,” Khan said.

In the meantime, a local community group, Living Hope, was overwhelmed with donations for affected residents but the donations will not reach the people until government did its part.

“We will keep everything in storage until the city issues the kits. Once that happens, people can build, and then only can the distribution of relief begin,” said the organisation’s John Thomas.

READ: Gift of the Givers working around the clock to support Masiphumelele victims

Living Hope was organising shipping containers to store the goods and the organisation requested help from volunteers to sort through the supplies.

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