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Aiding the Displaced: Government to Provide Shelter for Over 300 Families Affected by Johannesburg CBD Fire

Published September 21, 2023
8 months ago

The tragedy that unfolded on Thursday as a building in Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD) caught fire has led to the displacement of over 300 families. The fire incident unfortunately claimed the lives of 73 people and affected many others, drawing attention to the plight of those who were less fortunate in escaping the flames.

The fire began its devastating consequences in the five-storey building on the corner of Alberts and Delvers streets in Marshalltown. The emergency department reportedly responded at approximately 1:30 a.m.

"By the time the emergency department responded, two floors were affected but gradually the fire accelerated to the third floor", Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda stated while addressing the media.

He further highlighted the impact on the bereaved, stating, "We have more than 300 families that have been displaced and others in hospital. We will be going there to assess the extent of their injuries and evaluate how we can augment the kind of services they are getting and the facilities in which they are being held."

The city-owned building was tragically revealed to be under supposed "illegal occupation" following its leasing to a nonprofit organization which focused on assisting displaced women. Unfortunately, the NGO was shut down for safety issues and the building was subsequently "hijacked", as Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile explained.

Maile assured the public of the government's commitment to providing support for the affected victims, stating, "There will be social relief. We have already identified three buildings that the surviving victims will be allocated to... everyone who is affected will be given humanitarian assistance."

This unfortunate incident puts the spotlight on the broader challenges facing Johannesburg's housing crisis and the urgent need to provide secure homes for the city's vulnerable residents.

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