Kosovo fire victims are rebuilding their shacks with dilapidated materials. Picture: Supplied
Kosovo fire victims are rebuilding their shacks with dilapidated materials. Picture: Supplied

Kosovo shack fire victims say they've been left out in the cold to fend for themselves

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Nov 2, 2021

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Cape Town - Fire victims in Kosova informal settlement near Philippi say they have been left out in the cold to fend for themselves following a shack fire that destroyed their structures.

The more than 50 families said they had not received any form of assistance or relief.

A fire broke out in the area in the early hours of Thursday morning and left more than 160 people displaced. A 47-year-old woman died in the fire.

Community leader Mziwethemba Mgulwa said a few families managed to savage their building materials and rebuilt their structures. He said others are still with family members while most are out in the cold.

“While these people are expected to vote today, it must be remembered that the government has abandoned them. People are in desperate need of IDs, school uniforms and stationery for kids who are writing final examinations.

“Numerous fires have broken out in the area and people have been expected to start from scratch with little or nothing left of their belongings.

“This is something we have gotten used to and our people have come to resent the government of the day and with the current elections it is our hope they vote for change that would ensure their dignity is restored,” he said.

Zithande Foundation founder Lifa Msaseni who visited the victims on Sunday said currently the need was great and while the foundation had assisted with clothing more relief in form of essentials was needed.

“As the first NGO that responded to the victims in the area we have discovered that the residents only had the clothes they were wearing and through donations we received. We managed to provide eight bags of clothing, however that is just a drop in the ocean as the situation is dire, they don't have food or toiletries.

“For now the immediate assistance needed are food supplies or a soup kitchen that would ensure they at least receive two meals a day.

“As an unfunded organisation we are limited in terms of the relief we provide and we would like to call on anyone who might have the means to assist the families in any form,” said Msaseni.

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