6 JUNE 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fire Destroyes Informal Homes In Kenville, Durban

About 20 informal homes were razed when a fire broke out in Kenville, north of Durban in the early hours of the morning leaving dozens of people homeless.

Firefighters were immediately dispatched to douse the flames.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage and no one was injured during the blaze. 

EThekwini Municipality’s Disaster Management Unit is currently on site to assess the extent of the damage, and their intervention involves the coordination of the four steps below:

1. Response and Rescue: The reduction of the hazard (fire fighting, medical response, security) vested with first responders;

2. Assessment: This helps to understand the size of the problem, the nature of damage, immediate short-term requirements and compilation of an accurate list of affected and displaced persons;

3. Relief and Rehabilitation: The coordination of services and supply of immediate short-term needs such as food, shelter (tents), blankets and donated goods to assist those that are affected; 

4. Reconstruction: Supply of building materials or rebuilding of dwellings by responsible local or provincial government departments depending on the availability of funds. 

Unfortunately, such accidents are not budgeted for and once funding has been approved by the provincial Human Settlements Department all other relevant procurement processes will follow before any building material is supplied.

The Municipality is working hard to ensure that the displaced residents are assisted. 

The City’s long term-plan of eradicating informal settlements includes reallocating residents to the most suitable Greenfield projects to be implemented in the near future.

The housing programme is also constrained by the shortage of available, well-located land and competing priorities for land in general.

Eradicating informal settlements requires a joint effort from all stakeholders and members of the public are encouraged to report to authorities when they see people invading land and/or Municipal property.

The onus lies with the property owner to protect his/her property and ensure that it is not invaded and turned into an informal settlement.

During this winter season, we urge people living in informal settlements to be extra cautious and not to leave paraffin stoves and candles unattended. 

Safety tips for residents living in informal settlements include the following:

• Ensure that paraffin stove does not fall over, which may burn children or cause a fire.

• Make sure candles are secure and can't fall over. 

• Don't go to sleep with candles still burning.

• Teach children about the dangers of fire.

• Be aware of the dangers of illegal and faulty electricity connections, which also cause fires.

• Keep roads and access to dwellings clear at all times.

• Keep a bucket of dry sand near your appliances, ready to put out paraffin-related fires.

• Position paraffin appliances away from flammable things like newspaper, curtains, plastic and wood. 

• Place paraffin appliances on a steady and even surface where they cannot be easily knocked or pulled over.

Members of the public are urged to contact the eThekwini Municipality’s Security Management Unit on 031 311 4699 to report land invasion. 

ENDS 

Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information contact Gugu Mbonambi on 031 311 4855 or email:gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or email:princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za