Picking up pieces after the Kennedy Road Slum Fire

Picking up pieces after the Kennedy Road Slum Fire

A child remains missing after a devastating fire ripped through the Kennedy Road slum in Durban on Sunday, killing one and leaving more than 2,000 homeless.

On Monday, some of the fire victims told sister newspaper TimesLIVE Sowetan that they will have to “camp” in the area until they find materials to rebuild their homes as there are not enough accommodations.

The fire started in the early hours of Sunday morning and destroyed 1,101 homes, leaving 1,710 adults and 647 children without a roof over their heads.

Vuyani Nkala, 25, from the Eastern Cape, is the only confirmed death, with four more people taken to hospital and one child still missing.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the fire broke out after a quarrel between two men. One of them set fire to a hut belonging to the other in the central part of the settlement and it spread.

NGOs including Gift of the Givers, Meals on Wheels and the Red Cross are working with eThekwini municipality to help provide hot meals, mattresses, blankets, strollers and portable toilets.

Phumil Chilambi said he had to sleep outdoors for the first time in his life.

“What we need most are building materials so that we can rebuild and try to pick up parts of our lives because we’ve lost everything,” he said.

“The children have to go back to school tomorrow [today], but they don’t have a school uniform or clothes to change into. We have a lot of problems to deal with, but shelter is the most important.”

Themba Mkhize, a council member for Ward 25, pleaded for more help, saying the high number of casualties meant the assistance they received was not enough to cover everyone.

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