Frustrated Taiwan residents have begun rebuilding their homes using scraps of material left over from the furious blaze that tore through the settlement over a week ago. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.
Frustrated Taiwan residents have begun rebuilding their homes using scraps of material left over from the furious blaze that tore through the settlement over a week ago. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Taiwan fire victims waiting on City of Cape Town’s help

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Jan 12, 2021

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Cape Town - Frustrated Taiwan residents have begun rebuilding their homes using scraps of material left over from the furious blaze that tore through the settlement over a week ago.

This as they wait for the City of Cape Town to declare the burnt-down informal settlement a disaster.

Community activists currently working with Taiwan residents to source emergency aid, said they have been waiting for the City to give reasons as to why they will not declare Taiwan as a state of disaster.

Western Cape MPL Nomi Nkondlo said: “Two days ago Minister Lindiwe Sisulu came to visit to Taiwan. She told us and the residents that the area should be declared a state of disaster and cleared of the dead debris, like in Masiphumelele.

“However the City says because the number of people affected in Taiwan was not as high as in Masiphumelele, they cannot declare a state of disaster.

“That is why we are frustrated with the City of Cape Town for saying that Taiwan should not be declared a state of disaster, and not trigger aid. What are they saying and what then from here? What happens to the hundreds of families who were displaced by the fire?

“All we wanted was a sustainable response to the issue at hand. The City needs to explain to residents thoroughly why it is saying it cannot help them rebuild their homes. As the closest sphere of government to the people they should have been the first to try and assist, not claim that they cannot based on decisions they made.”

Khayelitsha CPF chairperson Phindile George said while Taiwan residents were grateful for the donations and support they had received from hundreds of people across Cape Town and community-based organisations, they were still worried about their uncertain future.

“Most residents had been relocated to schools, and churches for the time being, however with schools opening in two weeks’ time, people are worried about where they will live. Some have begun clearing the debris and rebuilding their homes using burnt materials because that is all they have.

“It is sad to see that the City has yet to initiate a response. For us it is overwhelming to be working to assist them with limited resources. As grateful and happy as we are that Cape Town residents came together to support Taiwan families, we hope the City will be able to also move in and assist soon,” said George.

Cape Argus

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