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Hundreds left homeless after blaze rips through informal settlement in Paarl

Aftermath of the devastating fire that destroyed an informal settlement in Paarl. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Aftermath of the devastating fire that destroyed an informal settlement in Paarl. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 19, 2021

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AT LEAST 400 people were left homeless after a fire destroyed the Drommedaris informal settlement in Mbekweni, Paarl.

Firefighters in the Cape Winelands have been attempting to contain fires for the past few days.

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According to a News24 report, 60 firefighters, eight firefighting vehicles and two helicopters were trying to put out blazes on the slopes of the Paarlberg.

Residents of the community are slowly rebuilding after the blaze left a trail of destruction in its wake on Saturday morning.

A man uses a damp cloth to try to escape the intense heat in Paarl. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Residents of the community are slowly rebuilding after the blaze left a trail of destruction. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Community members and Drakenstein’s disaster management requested assistance from humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers.

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Gift of the Givers’ offices closed on December 15 to give their staff a rest as they have been responding to Covid-19, drought, hunger and disaster upon disaster non-stop since March 15, 2020.

But Gift of the Givers standby teams responded to the call for help and delivered hot nutritious meals, blankets, mattresses, water and hygiene packs to the distraught victims of the fire in an attempt to bring some hope in the gloom and despair.

“The past 21 months have been extremely challenging for the citizens of our country. There were no Christmas celebrations last year, as we were ravaged by an aggressive second wave of Covid-19 with deaths running into the hundreds.

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“It seems that the residents of the Drommedaris informal settlement in Mbekweni, Paarl, are going to be deprived of another Christmas, as a devastating fire in the early hours of this morning destroyed 100 informal homes, and rendered 400 people homeless,” said Gift of the Givers in an Instagram post.

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