Shack fire victims suffering

Pefferville residents who lost their homes to shack fires during December have still not been provided with temporary shelter from the municipality.

Community members who have been assisting people who lost their homes, said municipal officials from disaster management had arrived on the day of the fires on December 22, and the day thereafter, to assess the damage and compile a report on the immediate needs, however, no assistance had been provided to date.

The fires started in the early hours of the morning, quickly becoming uncontrollable and destroying one house and three shacks.

The fire was caused by candles used during load-shedding.

Resident Shirley Prins said: “There is no sanitation, water and electricity for these people and often we find they are cooking outside on the fire.

“They have lost everything including birth certificates and IDs.

“They could only save themselves during the fire, they had no opportunity to rescue their belongings.

“They are in need of food, sanitation and temporary accommodation.”

Mother of two, Shandre Minion, whose home went up in flames, lost everything including her children’s school clothes and books, as well those belonging to her younger brother.

“My heart is very sore and everything that is important to us was lost in the fire.

“My brother couldn’t make it back to school in time for the start of the academic year because he doesn’t have a school uniform anymore.

“Every day I have to ask neighbours for food or some cooking utensils so that I am able to make some food for us to survive from,” the distraught mother said.

BCM was approached for comment regarding support such as organising official documents and providing food and water for the shack fire victims.

The municipality was also asked what plans it intended to put in place to fast-track providing support for shack fire victims across the metro, but these questions yielded no response.


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