People of Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay have been through a literal hell following a fire that has displaced an estimated 4000 people. Below, photographer on the ground, Justin Sullivan, reports his experience:
On Saturday (11/03), up to 650 shacks were burnt to the ground. Residents begun grabbing what they could and fleeing to tar streets, away from the alleys of the township, where 2 people were caught and did not survive.
Firefighters arrived on the scene around midnight, and were blocked off by morbidly curious bystanders and abandoned piles of belongings. It is reported that residents of Hout Bay and Constantia rushed in to help the people and firefighters in holding off the fires.
Here is how you can help:
- MONEY AND NON-PERISHABLE DONATIONS FOR THULA THULA HOUT BAY: ADDRESS: 1A Day Road, Hout Bay
- MAKE A ‘BUCKET OF HELP”:
- ITEMS AND ASSISTANCE NEEDED BY THE DOMESTIC ANIMAL RESCUE GROUP (DARG):
- DROP OFF NON-PRISHABLE ITEMS AT THE FOLLOWING PICK ‘N PAYS:
The fire- as well as 2 others that ravished informal settlements this weekend killing 10 people including children, in total – are a painful reminder to the community and government of the importance and urgent need (besides basic dignity and human right issue) for adequate housing. How many people must die until the South African and Western Cape government address the very real, enduring issue of housing? It also highlights the need for better preparation and planning by the city for disaster relief for informal settlement fires.
These are NOT new issues. It is past time for action.
Feature image: Justin Sullivan
Words: Zoya Pon