Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Shack fires cost Cape millions

The large number of devastating fires in informal settlements has forced an increase of almost R5-million in the Western Cape social services budget for disasters this financial year.

A statement by the City of Cape Town indicates that there were nearly 2 000 fires in informal settlements last year. More than 8 000 homes had already been destroyed by December 13 and about 28 000 people had been left destitute.

Last week alone 95 shacks burnt down in Masiphumelele, displacing about 120 families, and more than 300 shacks were razed in Khayelitsha. Police spokesperson Randall Stoffels said about 100 dwellings were destroyed.

The head of social services and poverty alleviation, Virginia Petersen, said the department had originally earmarked slightly more than R7-million for disasters but had already spent R12-million. Cape Argus

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