March 12 (UPI) — At least nine people died and hundreds of structures burned down after several fires broke out in shack settlements outside of Cape Town, South Africa, officials said.
The City of Cape Town said 650 structures burned down by Saturday due to the fires in the town of Hout Bay on the outskirts of Cape Town. Firefighters brought the flames under control.
Sunday Times News reported up to 4,000 people are homeless after fires razed up to 1,000 shacks in Hout Bay’s Mandela Park. Gale-force winds stoked the flames.
The City of Cape Town has asked for donations of non-perishable food, baby formula and diapers.
City of Cape Town disaster risk management center spokeswoman Charlotte Powell said emergency services have been put on high alert in response to the weather service’s gale warning. Powell said humanitarian aid is being delivered to those affected.
“We are offering blankets, hot meals and shelter in community halls. Once the area is cleared and a proper assessment is made, we will issue fire kits for the residents to rebuild their homes,” Powell said. “The Department of Home Affairs has also been notified as well as social services.”
Samkele Krweqe, a community leader in Mandela Park, said his community is accustomed to dealing with fires.
“We will get 25 metal sheets, 15 poles, a door, window frame and nails and we will be told to rebuild homes and our lives,” Krweqe said. “Officials will also promise us that ‘something will be done about this situation.’ That has been the story of our lives. People need houses.”