Blaze destroys over 20 EL homes


Firefighters extinguish the last embers of a shack fire that destroyed over 20 homes in Duncan Village on Wednesday afternoon. Image: GROUNDUP/CHRIS GILILI

A fire destroyed over 20 shacks in East London’s Duncan Village on Wednesday‚ leaving scores of people homeless in Site C. Residents tried to combat the fire using water buckets‚ but the flames were too high.

The cause of the fire is still unknown but residents say they know which shack it started in. The owner was at work. By the time firefighters arrived the damaged was done.

“I lost everything – my ID‚ clothing and all the food I had bought for this month … I don’t even know where I will sleep‚” said Thobeka Mafanya.

“This fire happens as we are already waiting for housing to be provided for us. We already have site numbers in Chicken Farm‚ and a promise to move us has been made several times by the city‚” said one of the fire victims.

Ward 7 councillor Clara Morollong-Yekiso said Buffalo City Metro would provide disaster relief.

“Right now we are compiling a list of all the fire victims‚ the number of family members from each shack and the damage caused. Thereafter disaster [management] will provide help as they see fit. That should happen today [Thursday]‚” said Morollong-Yekiso.

She indicated that a hall situated next to her office would be made available for the fire victims in the meantime.

She did not guarantee that any temporary housing structures would be made available for the families.

Morollong-Yekiso said the move to formal housing was a process being handled by the metro.

She said people needed to attend the community meetings to understand how far that process was. – GroundUp


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