Thursday, February 7, 2013

250 face challenge of rebuilding lives after shack fire

A fire tore trough UT section, an informal settlement in Khayelitsha, late on Monday night, destroying more than 50 shacks and leaving close to 250 people homeless.

Locals tried in vain to douse the fire with buckets while waiting for firefighters.

Lisebo Basi, 22, rushed her two-year-old son, Liebhogang, out of her shack when the fire broke out in a separate room.  "I just took my son out of the shacks and handed him over to my neighbour.  I also took my ID, purse and some baby clothes before I ran out. I just stood there and watched my shack burn down," Bansi Said.

Basi, who works at super market in the area, said she would have to save to rebuild her shack.  "I am going to live with my aunt in Mfuleni until I have enough money.  It's going to be tough for the next few months becuase the price of the baby food and clothes keeps on rising," she said.

Another resident, Thulani Matiwane, 35, who is unemployed, said he lost all he owned in the blaze. "I have nothing left. I gather scrap material and sell it where ever I can, but without a roof over my head or food to eat I am really hopeless."

Yesterday most residents tried to rebuild their shacks with fire-damaged zinc and wood while disaster risk management officials handed out food hampers.

Disaster risk management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the caue of the fire was unknown.

A second fire, in the Emsindweni informal settlements in Khayelitsha, broke out just after 11pm on Monday and destroyed five. No one was injured in the fires.

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