Hundreds homeless after shack fire rips through Durban settlement

MEC for Human Settlements promises to fast-track assistance

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Quarry Road residents search for belongings after a fire razed about 150 shacks on Thursday. Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

Hundreds of people have been left homeless and have lost most of their belongings after a fire ripped through Quarry Road informal settlement on Thursday. Survivors say the fire spread rapidly through the informal settlement, destroying 150 shacks.

The M19 highway was briefly closed as firefighters and other emergency workers battled to extinguish the fire. The roadside was filled with possessions rescued from the flames. Those left homeless sheltered from the rain on Thursday night in a big tent.

When GroundUp arrived on Friday, eThekwini municipality’s disaster management team was on the ground, collecting information and assessing the extent of the damage.

Sindisiwe Ximba said she had to rush home from work when she was informed that their shacks were alight. “Luckily, I always carry my ID with me in my purse. This is not the first fire. Most of the time it happens at night or over weekends,” she said.

We found Lungisani Bumka busy cutting down charred trees that had fallen. He said the presence of bushes and trees had contributed to the fire spreading.

Ward 25 Councillor Themba Mkhize said he had arranged the tent. He said the human settlements department would provide materials to rebuild homes.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements Sipho Nkosi also visited the residents and promised to help fast-track the provision of building materials “as soon as they get the data from eThekwini municipality”.

The City’s media office said, “The cause of fire is unknown at this stage and an investigation is underway. A preliminary assessment to determine the extent of the damage will be conducted.”

Abahlali Basemjondolo president Sbu Zikode said urgent assistance was needed to help the residents rebuild their shacks.

TOPICS:  Fire Housing

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