Fire leaves 700 Dunoon residents homeless ahead of Christmas

A fire at the weekend left more than 700 people destitute in an informal settlement in Dunoon.

A fire at the weekend left more than 700 people destitute in an informal settlement in Dunoon.

Published Dec 18, 2023


Hundreds of Ethembeni informal settlement residents in Dunoon have been left destitute after a devastating fire swept through the area.

According to the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management, 258 informal structures were destroyed along with seven formal housing structures on Saturday, leaving 702 people affected.

Officials continued with assessments and registrations on Monday.

City Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said they were notified at around 5.30am of shacks burning in Ngena Street.

“Due to the extent of the incident, 14 firefighting resources were on scene with over 50 staff battling the blaze. At around 9.45am the fire was contained and crews had to contend with some members of the community who interfered with their duties. Law Enforcement and Metro Police assisted.

“The initial estimate was more than 200 structures were destroyed and many left displaced. At this stage the cause of the fire is still unknown,” said Carelse.

A man who sustained burns was treated at the scene and taken to a nearby medical facility.

Some of the affected persons are staying with friends or relatives, while others were expected to be accommodated at emergency shelters.

The disaster risk management centre's Sonica Lategan said they have established a Joint Operations Centre on site to co-ordinate the response to the fire.

“Gifts of the Givers are on site to assist with humanitarian relief. The City also alerted Sassa, as the agency responsible for providing humanitarian relief. Continuous assessments are being conducted by various City departments, relating to damaged infrastructure and the removal of fire debris,” said Lategan.

Cape Times