The City of Cape Town’s informal settlement management and cleansing staff, contractors as well as emergency response teams have been working tirelessly to assist fire-affected residents in Khayelitsha and Philippi. Simultaneous operations have been under way and enhanced emergency fire kits are in the process of being issued to all affected by the informal settlements staff. Read more below:
City staff on the ground have been working non-stop to assist destitute families who were affected by fires in Khayelitsha and Philippi over the weekend.
The two affected informal settlements, Kosovo in Philippi; and Silver Town in Khayelitsha, have been serviced simultaneously. Thus far, most of the enhanced fire kits have been issued to the fire-affected residents. Approximately 70% of the kits have been delivered to residents in Silver Town and 90% of the kits have been issued to residents in Kosovo.
The transportation and distribution of these kits, which comprise large components for dwelling structures, has been a major operation and the teams are working hard to issue the remainder of the kits as soon as possible. Before the kits are delivered, the sites are cleared of debris, levelled if required and an extensive survey and verification process of the affected people is undertaken.
The first fire occurred in the informal settlement of Silver Town, Khayelitsha, in the early hours of Saturday morning, 20 October 2018. After an extensive assessment was undertaken, it was confirmed that 342 households were affected.
Then, in a separate incident on Sunday 21 October 2018, a fire occurred in the Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi where approximately 120 households were affected.
‘We thank our staff and contractors for their absolute commitment to assisting the affected residents in the shortest timeframes possible. We also thank the people of Cape Town for all of the support that has been offered to those who have been affected.
‘In the last financial year, the City spent approximately R30 million on emergency materials and has made significant improvements to the emergency fire kits that are issued to victims. Our informal settlements department is a leader in providing these kits to fire-affected people.
‘For instance, the enhanced kits now consist of 25 zinc sheets; 14 wooden poles which are fire-treated; three packets of nails; a door; door hinges; a window frame and a window. These quality materials provide adequate and immediate shelter to destitute families.
‘What our teams have managed to achieve in this short space of time, and under extreme pressure, is significant. We could not be more grateful to our informal settlements staff and contractors on the ground for going above and beyond the call of duty to assist these residents in a time where they needed it most’, said the City’s Mayoral committee Member for Informal Settlements; Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.
‘Our minds cannot comprehend the loss that these families have experienced but we are grateful that we could at least provide them with the physical materials to start rebuilding a home. The City encourages the community to be vigilant of potential fires and to work with the City in an effort to reduce the occurrence of preventable fires and the unnecessary loss of life. Donations have been pouring in to the Khayelitsha Fire Station from concerned residents and the City thanks everyone for their willingness to help,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area East, Councillor Anda Ntsodo.
‘There has been an overwhelming response from residents to calls for donations to assist the fire-affected residents. There is still a need for household items such as blankets, bedding, curtains and clothing. A huge thank you to the many residents, corporates and organisations who have stepped up and contributed to relief efforts. The drop-off points for donations are Wynberg, Khayelitsha and the Strand fire stations,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area South, Councillor Eddie Andrews.
Residents are asked not to donate perishable items, especially bread, as there is no facility to store these items safely.
The City has made the Mayoral Relief Fund available and the details for donations are: Nedbank, account number 1158667043, branch code 198765, ref A009.
The South African Social Services Agency the lead agency for humanitarian assistance.
Fires can be reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialing 107 from a landline or 112 toll free from a cell phone.
The City remains committed to the roll-out of its informal settlement upgrade programmes for which R850 million has been earmarked over the medium term; and to drive fire prevention and awareness initiatives across the metro.