The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the private sector put their hands together to assist 40 inhabitants of Makazana Street, Walmer Gqebera after 21 shacks were razed to the ground yesterday.
Safety and Security Standing Committee Chairperson Cllr Wandisile Jikeka said at this stage the municipality’s Disaster Management Unit issued 80 blankets, 60 mattresses and four bags of soup to the affected people who are still accommodated at two nearby churches.
Branches of Pick n Pay in Summerstrand and Heugh Road gave warm food and bread yesterday. The Community Chest committed to assist with clothes for the children and Summerbreeze Spar gave 300 loaves of bread. Checkers made a commitment to give baby food and nappies. Several private individuals opened their hearts as well by donating food and bedding today.
“A request was also sent to the Office of the Executive Mayor to assist with school uniforms and shoes for the affected kids as the municipality still has the uniforms after a very successful drive to collect school shoes for at least 10 000 children earlier this year,” he added.
The municipality’s cleansing division has been requested to clear the debris at the site and the Department of Home Affairs agreed to assist with the issuing of birth certificates.
A Relief Coordinating Committee, consisting of an official from Disaster Management, the Office of the Councillor and members of the affected community, will now be established to coordinate the distribution of donated goods.
Cllr Jikeka said it is important that a serious lesson must be learnt from this incident as the fire was allegedly started by a man who felt aggrieved by his partner.
“Personal problems should be resolved amicably and we should encourage people to make use of the services of organizations such as FAMSA to ensure a common ground is reached,” he added.
It is alleged that a man set fire to his girlfriend’s shack due to differences with her. This fire spread to 20 other shacks before the inferno could be stopped by 16 firemen and women of the municipality.