STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S ACTING EXECUTIVE MAYOR, ALDERMAN IAN NEILSON
The City of Cape Town, with its civic partners, has been working non-stop to provide relief to our residents in Imizamo Yethu after the devastating fire which occurred over the weekend. It is believed to be one of the worst informal settlement fires that we have experienced to date.
Officials from various City directorates remain on site.
From a humanitarian relief perspective, the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre is coordinating efforts through its non-governmental partners: the Red Cross Society, the Mustadafin Foundation and Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI).
To date, the following has been distributed:
Red Cross Society: 8 000 meals, 8 000 blankets, vanity packs, 200 baby packs and 1 000 mattresses
HDI: 6 000 meals, 6 000 blankets, 200 baby packs, vanity packs
Mustadafin Foundation: 6 000 meals, 6 000 blankets, vanity packs and 200 baby packsIn addition, the Thula Thula Foundation is managing community donations received from the public. The Ambleside School in Hout Bay is the designated drop-off point for such donations. At the moment, items most needed are non-perishable food items, wet wipes, disposable nappies (all sizes), water, toiletries, school clothing, baby clothing and stationery.
It would appear that 4 500 structures were razed and approximately 15 000 residents have been affected. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of the three victims who died in the fire. The cause of the fire is undetermined at this stage.
City officials, as well as the Red Cross, have remained on site and in the area to provide 24-hour relief and comfort. Residents have been offered temporary relief accommodation in community halls in the area and a temporary marquee has also been erected at the request of the affected residents to house their belongings. City staff are helping to secure the belongings of the fire-affected residents until an alternative plan is made. The situation will be monitored and assessed as the week goes on.
It is foreseen that it will take at least a week for the City’s Solid Waste Management Department to clear the debris. The site would then have to be levelled and redesigned. This will take approximately a week, if all goes according to plan. The City urges members of the community to work with the City in this regard. Cooperation will shorten the estimated time-frames of this process.
All water and electricity services are in the process of being reinstated. These services should be fully resumed soon.
The enumeration process is also currently under way to verify the legitimate fire-affected beneficiaries. It is based on a recent survey of the settlement. It is being conducted by the City’s Informal Settlements Management Department. Due to the scale of the fire, it may take some time before all residents receive their building kits, however the City is doing everything in our power to ensure that this happens as quickly as possible.
It is foreseen that the City will attempt to establish several large-scale re-blocked areas which will be surrounded by fire-breaks, pedestrian walkways, and peripheral water, sanitation and electricity services. The City will, in this way, be able to enhance access to emergency and other services. However, due to steep terrain, the construction of the access routes will require the cooperation of the community to make the required spaces available. The City has discussed this with the community and its leaders.
The City thanks all Capetonians for their generosity and concern.