Teams from a range of humanitarian organizations have been given the proverbial pat-on-the-back for their quick response to Friday’s devastating fire at an informal settlement south of Johannesburg which left thousands destitute.
Some 2000 people were displaced and about 700 shacks completely destroyed in the huge blaze which broke out late Friday afternoon and sent panicked residents scrambling to salvage whatever belongings they could.
Ubuntu in action
Rapidly deployed teams from Gift of the Givers, SA National Women’s Forum, Islamic Relief, The Muslim Association of South Africa, and the Al-Imdaad Foundation assisted City disaster management officials in assessing the scale of destruction and to prepare a coordinated response.
Images of the huge fire’s aftermath resembled a wasteland, with eNCA’s Michael Appel saying: “Haven’t seen this level of destruction in a while.”
Netizens applauded the strong show of solidarity.
“I would like to give words of gratitude to the NGOs that assisted to bring relief to the Booysens Informal Settlement,” one person tweeted.
“It was a powerful moment of #UbuntuInAction as many organizations & NGO’s worked on the ground all day and night to see to immediate needs of the people. We salute you!” said another.
No deaths reported
No casualties were reported and the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman, who had a team on-site Friday overnight, said his “group provided hot meals, baby porridge, water, blankets, and diapers to the families that were impacted by the fire.”
“Once the residents are settled in their dwellings, the organisation will be supplying mattresses, food parcels, hygiene packs, stationery and school uniforms to residents.”
Early in December last year, some 24 shacks were gutted, leaving about 33 families homeless when a fire ripped through the Qolweni informal settlement in Plettenberg Bay.
And a massive blaze in the Masiphumelele informal settlement destroyed more than 1 000 homes and affected 4 000 people just days before Christmas.