Defend Truth

GROUNDUP

Disaster response teams descend on Durban’s Kennedy Road shack fire site as thousands left homeless

Disaster response teams descend on Durban’s Kennedy Road shack fire site as thousands left homeless
Thousands of people were left homeless when their shacks were destroyed by a fire in the early hours of Sunday morning at Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban. (Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko)

One man died in the blaze early on Sunday morning.

A 25-year-old man has died, and four others suffered injuries after a fire ripped through Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban on Sunday morning. According to residents, over 1,000 shacks were gutted, leaving about 2,300 people homeless.

The community are not sure about the whereabouts of three people and a child, but they may have just been away from home.

Disaster management teams, as well as Gift of the Givers, Meals on Wheels and the Red Cross Society, have been on the ground to help the affected families. The organisations and the eThekwini Municipality are supplying hot meals, mattresses, blankets, baby hampers and mobile toilets.

On Monday, we spoke to 69-year-old Busisiwe Dlamini. Her hands were covered in ash as she sorted through the debris to see if any of her belongings could be salvaged.

“I was sleeping when I heard people screaming, ‘Umlilo!’ [fire] … My 10-year-old grandchild Samke was crying because she didn’t know what was happening,” said Dlamini.

Lungile Shandu said she fled her home with her two children, aged nine and 14. They lost all of their belongings in the fire. “It was like a nightmare … watching my shack burn. I could not believe it but there was nothing I could do,” she said.

Community leader Sifiso Mkhize said the fire victims were desperate to rebuild their homes but they needed help with building materials and food.

“We really don’t have anything to eat … If we had more taps, we would have doused that fire. The problem is the fire started at night while many people were sleeping,” said Mkhize.

Head of communication at eThekwini Municipality Lindiwe Khuzwayo said thousands of residents had lost their homes, belongings, and legal documents.

She said water tankers have been sent to the area.

“Our human settlements department is currently capturing the beneficiary list for the provision of building materials. The affected residents have been housed in the local community hall, though many have opted to stay near their sites due to fear of losing them,” said Khuzwayo. She did not say when the material would be delivered. DM

First published by GroundUp.

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz