Making best of a bad situation

20080609AMU/NEWS. A man washing himself  at the Gilviw refugee centre in Johannesburg. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE.
20080609AMU/NEWS. A man washing himself at the Gilviw refugee centre in Johannesburg. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE.

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

"Welcome to Burundi" says the sign on several tents at a temporary shelter for displaced immigrants in Gillview, south of Johannesburg.

These are just some of the personal touches that the estimated 2000 inhabitants have given their temporary homes.

The names of families, and in some cases the lyrics of songs, are written on the white tents.

Security guards at the gate check the names of people going in and out against a register.

This is to keep intruders out, Gauteng government spokesman Thabo Masebe says.

The guards are some of the human resources immigrants have access to at the shelters.

Medical assistance is also available and those who cannot be helped are referred to facilities outside the shelter.

Relief organisations provide food and there are long lines of mobile toilets and taps where people can draw water for cooking and washing.

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