Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year’s Day fires leaves 4,000 people homeless – 3 people confirmed dead

DU NOON: At 01:12 on Tuesday, 01 January 2013 a fire was reported at the Thembeni Informal Settlement in Du Noon. The fire destroyed 15 formal houses and another 220 shacks in the area. As a result of the fire 800 people were left displaced. The blaze also damaged the overhead electricity supply – technicians are currently repairing the power supply.

WD-SECTION, KHAYELITSHA: A fire destroyed 120 shacks at WD-Section, Khayelitsha that was reported at 19:15 on Monday, 31 December 2012. The fire has affected 200 people that were left homeless.

BM SECTION, KHAYELITSHA: A devastating fire that occurred at 04:45 on Tuesday, 01 January 2013 that rapidly spread through the BM Section Informal Settlement in Khayelitsha. A large contingent of public safety agencies from Disaster Risk Management, Fire & Rescue Services, METRO Emergency Medical Services, City’s law enforcement agencies (Metro Police, Law Enforcement and Traffic Services); and the Provincial Traffic Services to exercise control over the incident and bringing it under control. The blaze destroyed over 800 shacks leaving more than 3,000 people homeless. The service of a helicopter was employed at first light to assist containing the rapid spreading fire. The aerial firefighting efforts has proven successful to contain the fire and the helicopter was stood down 10:30 this morning. One adult male sustained serious burn wounds and was transported to the Tygerberg Hospital for medical treatment. The traffic authorities of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government were required to effect road closures on the N2 in both directions between as the thick smoke affected the free-flow of traffic endangering the safety of motorists. Three adult males [Otto Ngcebetshana (35 years), Yako Nkusiyaba (29 years), and another unidentified adult male died in the fire that was engulfed in flames that could not escape.

The gusting wind conditions has fueled the spread of these fires that made is challenging for firefighters to effect fire suppression.

The City’s disaster response teams assisted the fire victims with the supply of food parcels, blankets, baby packs, clothing and building material; including emergency psychosocial trauma counselling.

The South African Social Security Agency [SASSA] is also assisting the City with the provision of social relief of distress to the fire victims.

The City has made arrangements with the Department of Home Affairs to provide the fire victims with temporary identity documents.

The cause of these fires is not been established, however it is alleged that it were caused by negligence by persons under the influence of alcohol.

The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre encourages residents to be fire safe when working with open flames. When going to bed, residents should isolate electrical devices and extinguish gas burners, candles, lamps and paraffin stoves in order to prevent fires.

For more information on how to prevent fires please visit City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre on www.capetown.gov.za/disaster.

Donations are welcomed

The public who want to contribute to the disaster relief operations can contact the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre on Tel: 080 911 HELP (4357).

The following goods are essential supplies that can assist the victims in the affected areas:

· emergency food rations
· fresh or tinned food
· wood
· paraffin
· blankets
· assistance with the transportation of donated goods


Issued by: Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries:

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, Head: Systems Integration, Special Projects & Disaster Operations, Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town.

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