Cape Town - Three people died and more than 400 were displaced after fires ripped through five informal settlements across the city at the weekend.
A huge fire broke out at the New Rest informal settlement in Nyanga early on Sunday, destroying 118 shacks. Two people were killed in the blaze and 360 people left homeless.
Makarina Giladile, who lost everything in the fire, said he was asleep when the blaze started. He said everything had been destroyed in one fire.
“I was still sleeping when the fire started and by the time the fire got to us we couldn’t get any of our things out,” Giladile said.
He said he and his family of seven were left with only the clothes on their backs. “We went to buy Christmas clothes for the children in November and now those are also all gone,” a distraught Giladile said.
Nkosiyedwa Nqandi, 38, and Msondezi Mponda, 30, who died in the blaze, were trapped in their shack by the blaze.
They were pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics.
The city’s disaster risk management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the city assisted those affected with food parcels and blankets - and trauma counselling for the families of the dead and the eyewitnesses.
“The fire also damaged the overhead electricity infrastructure that interrupted the power supply. Technicians of the electricity services department are in the process of restoring the service in the area,” Solomons-Johannes said.
In a second fire, in Eastridge, Mitchells Plain, on Saturday, fire engines were dispatched from Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu and Belhar to help fight the blaze.
A 45-year-old woman died and two structures were destroyed. Fifteen people were left homeless.
A fire in Khayelitsha’s Monwabisi Park left person one injured and displaced eight others.
Two wood-and-iron structures were damaged.
A fire in the Vrygrond Informal Settlement in Muizenberg destroyed six structures and resulted in 20 people being left destitute.
A fire in Strand on Saturday left 30 people homeless. Fifteen homes were gutted.
Solomons-Johannes said the cause of the fires was under investigation and the police had opened inquest dockets.