Nearly 000 residents have lost their homes and possessions just days ahead of the New Year as fires ravaged various parts of the province.
Firefighting and humanitarian relief efforts continued in a number of communities where residents have been displaced, including 60 residents in the latest fire at Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay on Wednesday morning.
City Disaster Risk Management Centre spokesperson Charlotte Powell said 20 informal structures and nine formal houses were razed in the Hout Bay fire.
In Seawinds, 135 structures were destroyed, while another 60 structures were destroyed at Jim Se Bos in Philippi and 45 structures were destroyed in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein. The blazes affected almost 1 000 residents.
Powell said NGO partners Gift of the Givers and Islamic Relief SA would provide mattresses, hot meals, blankets, baby care packs, clothing and toiletry packs.
Gift of the Givers operations manager Ali Sablay said after attending to three fires on Christmas day, they would continue with relief efforts for the week, assisting with hot meals and care packages for victims in Seawinds, Wallacedene, Philippi and Hout Bay.
“Our operations are continuing in all four fire sites for the next five days. We will be assisting each child who is a fire victim with new school uniforms and school clothing going into the new year. We are there to provide humanitarian aid and remain on standby for any fires.
“All credit is due to the City’s fire department who are stretched and doing their utmost to prevent loss of life and property,” said Sablay.
Wallacedene resident Barry Lucas said he and his family were devastated after losing their home and possessions. “We could not imagine that it would happen at this time, as it usually is a time of joy, but it’s the opposite for our family and our community. It hurts but we hope to recover from the loss. We are not sure what caused the fire,” said Lucas.
In Ceres, a number of elderly persons were moved to a temporary shelter after a fire on Christmas Eve at Badisa’s PJ Strauss home.
Badisa chief executive Basie van Wyk said the fire started in a resident’s room at 7.15pm and one person died, presumably due to smoke inhalation.
Van Wyk has made a call for donations while assessments continue.
Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service issued a level 2 warning for damaging winds until Thursday, which authorities warned may affect firefighting efforts.
“The level 2 warning for south-easterly winds of between 50 and 70 km/h is in place from Table Bay to Cape Agulhas. The wind warning goes hand in hand with a high risk of veldfires.
We’ve seen in recent days the challenges brought about by weather conditions, particularly in respect of fires, so the City appeals to the public to please be alert,” said Powell.
City Fire and Rescue spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said a call has been made to available off-duty fire staff to report to their fire stations, given the prevailing weather conditions and the associated risks.
To assist with donations to Badisa’s PJ Strauss home, contact 079 708 5752 or 082 324 6751.
In the event of an emergency, contact 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.