Fire destroys Lusaka shacks
HUNDREDS of Lusaka informal settlement residents in Old Crossroads, Cape Town, are today cleaning their yards and rebuilding their homes after a devastating fire ravaged 49 shacks and left 160 people homeless yesterday.
The cause of the fire is unknown. ANC councillor Else Depoutch said the fire had forced them to accommodate affected people in the local community hall.
"People had to sleep in the Lusaka community hall and the City of Cape Town provided them with food and blankets. We are still waiting for the city's disaster risk management to provide them with building materials so they can start rebuilding their shacks," Depoutch said.
Cape Town disaster risk management spokesman Wilfred Solomons confirmed the incident. He said that the overhead electricity network infrastructure was also damaged by fire and had affected the power supply to the area.
"The smoke affected the visibility of motorists driving on the N2 and that had caused congestion on the highway," Solomons said.
He said the city's disaster response teams were on the scene coordinating plans to ensure that humanitarian aid and building materials are provided to those affected.
"The cause of the fire is as yet unknown and the authorities are still investigating," Solomons said.
Victim Funeka Mcaphukelo, 43, said she did not know how she was going to rebuild her shack.
"I lost all my belongings in the fire. I'm only left with the clothes I'm wearing now," she said.
Mcaphukelo said she was sleeping when the fire started.
"I heard people shouting fire, fire. I jumped up and ran outside. I did not even get the chance to go back to take my clothes," she said.
Nqabisile Liwa lambasted Depoutch, accusing him of neglecting Lusaka residents.
"I've been staying here since 1999. I registered for a house a long time ago, but I'm still staying here. Instead, young people are allocated houses," Liwa said.
Depoutch rubbished the allegations. He said: "Lusaka is situated on the road reserve area and we can't build houses there."