News and Information

Fire claims Red Hill on 8 February 2008...

Did we all know enough about Red Hill - now that 1/4 of it is gone??
[ By Erna Sittig on 9 February, 2008 ]

A few days ago the Red Hill township on the mountain hill close to Kommetjie and Scarborough in Cape Town caught fire again. Families needed to be evacuated immediately as 150 firefighters did their utmost best to stop the entire settlement from going up in flames. Many (employed at meager wages) returned home to ashes and smoldering wood heaps.
Red Hill
Uthango team members visited the area and discussed the possible consequences for the organisation. For almost two (2) years, we have been advocating for a community profiling to be completed in this specific township. This is a comprehensive survey in the area together with the residents and has been overdue for years to determine their resources, enterprise activities, needs and skills. The local South Peninsula Sub-Council of the City of Cape Town has been presented with a proposal for funding such a CommunityMap (TM) in 2006, but there was no reply. Today, this would have been invaluable information for government and humanitarian organisations to respond appropriately and efficiently to rebuild lives and dwellings...

We continue to believe that information poverty at all levels of society is often the cause of paralysis in development. We want to do more (so much more) in Red Hill, and the place to start - for us - would be a community profiling.
Red Hill
Read a personal account of volunteers working in Red Hill; link to TwoandTwomakesFive that also took the photos above...

The Cape Times reports the following in today's newspaper: Excerpt: "Some people initially refused to leave their homes, even as rescue officials cautioned that their own safety could be at stake... One of (the shacks) belonged to Mavis Jacobs, who described her shock when she returned from her job as a char in Scarborough to find her home and all her possessions had been burnt. Clutching a plastic bag to her chest, a clearly traumatised Jacobs gazed over the fiery landscape. "I only have the clothes on my back left. It's all gone, I can't believe it."

René Dick, who lives with her three young children and her husband, said her house had not burnt down, but when they were evacuated they had taken their most vital household items and clothes. Her sister-in-law, Sophia Dick, said the frequent fires over the past few weeks were leading to intense frustration for the community. "Can't the government see this is happening all the time? When will they give us proper houses?"

Frightened pets were running in the road, having been separated from their owners in the thick smoke and general pandemonium. But the SPCA was on the scene and Conchita Milburn, from the animal welfare organisation, encouraged residents who feared their pets were lost to contact the organisation".
Red Hill

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