Displaced victims of the Barcelona fire found themselves destitute – with no hope of help from the city in sight

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Through Nomalanga Tshuma Sep 28, 2021

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Cape Town – Thirty Barcelona residents have been left destitute after a devastating fire engulfed their local community, destroying their homes and all their possessions in its wake.

Community leaders in the area say they have started to mobilize for support and donations for affected residents whose homes were among the 15 shacks that burned down Monday night.

Community leader Nolusindiso Mangxa said: “The residents are completely devastated by what has happened. They feel desperate, especially now that we have told them that they will not receive help from the government to rebuild their homes.

“They don’t know what to do. They’ve lost everything they had, and some don’t even know where to turn to start rebuilding their lives. Right now the women, children and the elderly are just sitting outside next to the debris, hungry and tired.

“The worst part is that even though we called the Center for Disaster Risk Management, they still haven’t come out. Things are really bad here. We even have a grade 12 student here, she attends Heideveld High School. She lost everything in the fire, she was preparing for her final. We need help. If anyone can help, please let them come forward, ”Mangxa said.

Barcelona City Councilor Bongani Ngcombolo said: “The situation we find ourselves in is not easy to manage as the city now refuses to do anything. As long as we can get clothes, blankets and food for a few days, the most important thing people need is help to rebuild their homes.

“They need equipment, and while I must stress that cabins are not the form of permanent housing people should turn to, these structures have at least given them shelter in the meantime.

“The city could say that the national government took the grant and gave it to Sassa, but in the end, what did they do? What was their response to this? Because we live in a city where one local community or another ignites every other day? The City is responsible for the people who live there, so how come they are content with not being able to help those in need, ”said Ngcombolo.

In response, Malusi Booi, Mayco member for human settlements, said: “Until recently, the city was the only metro in South Africa to provide improved fire kits to residents affected by the fire as a as additional service, apart from officially declared disasters. He was paid with the national grant. Now there is no more money.

“Traditionally, we’ve done this to improve turnaround times and provide support where we can. We continue to explore all options and continue to provide assistance where we can. We remain committed to exploring all possible avenues to assist residents affected by the fire.

“Each fire case is assessed and a specific approach is developed as all cases will have unique circumstances. The City enables and facilitates smooth relief, such as donation, site clean-up, audit and assistance assessments. We call on the national government not to cut grant funding so that these relief kits can be provided again, ”Booi said.


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