[Hpn] Over one billion people on the planet lack adequate housing, he said, while around 100 million have no housing whatsoever

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 27 Dec 2007 08:23:19 -0500


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Christmas blaze leave scores homeless=20

          Ayanda Mhlongo=20

          December 27 2007  =20
    =20

      It will be a sad day for residents of the Foreman Road Informal =
Settlement when they return from visiting families in the rural areas to =
find their homes destroyed.=20

      The residents who remained at the informal settlement on Christmas =
day could only watch helplessly as their homes and everything they owned =
went up in flames.

      The massive blaze that ravaged the settlement on Tuesday night =
destroyed more than 200 shacks, leaving over 500 people homeless.

      While police said the cause of the fire was not yet known, =
residents believe it was caused by a candle left alight in one of the =
shacks.






      One of the residents said that owner of the shack that first =
caught alight had apparently left a candle burning and went out to visit =
friends.=20

      S'bu Zikode, chairperson of the Baha'i Basemjondolo, an =
organisation that represents shack dwellers, said the fire had spread =
from shack to shack within minutes.=20

      "Fortunately we were able to send out the message quickly for =
everyone to evacuate. The fire spread so quickly that none of the =
residents had time to remove their belongings," he said.

      Firefighters worked tirelessly through the night battling to put =
out the flames and to ensure that it did not spread further.=20

      Zikode said while there were no deaths or serious injuries, the =
situation would have been far worse if all the families had been at =
home.

      "Most of the residents were not around; they are visiting their =
families in the rural areas, so many of them do not even know their =
homes have been destroyed. In fact, they will have nothing except the =
clothes on their back when they return," he said.

      Police spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said a disaster =
plan had been put in place and that aid would be sent for the destitute =
families.=20

      "The families are being housed at a local community centre until =
they are able to rebuild their homes," he said.=20

      Mdunge said an investigation had been launched into the cause of =
the fire.=20

      Zikode said some of the residents had returned to the site early =
on Wednesday in the hope of rebuilding their shacks.

      "Many of them are struggling because the material was destroyed =
and we are appealing to people to help the families. They are left with =
nothing.=20

      "They don't have clothes, blankets or food, and the small children =
and women are the worst off," he said.

      Zikode added that Baha'i Basemjondolo had tried to get assistance =
from non-government organisations, but that many were closed during the =
Christmas period.

    =20


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<DIV>Christmas blaze leave scores homeless </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>
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    <TD class=3Dcaption style=3D"WIDTH: 360px">
      <DIV>&nbsp; &nbsp; Ayanda Mhlongo </DIV>
      <DIV><BR><SPAN style=3D"COLOR: #747474">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; =
December 27=20
      2007&nbsp; </SPAN></DIV></TD></TR>
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    <TD class=3Dsvarticletext><FONT size=3D+1></FONT>
      <P>It will be a sad day for residents of the Foreman Road Informal =

      Settlement when they return from visiting families in the rural =
areas to=20
      find their homes destroyed. <BR><BR>The residents who remained at =
the=20
      informal settlement on Christmas day could only watch helplessly =
as their=20
      homes and everything they owned went up in flames.<BR><BR>The =
massive=20
      blaze that ravaged the settlement on Tuesday night destroyed more =
than 200=20
      shacks, leaving over 500 people homeless.<BR><BR>While police said =
the=20
      cause of the fire was not yet known, residents believe it was =
caused by a=20
      candle left alight in one of the shacks.<BR><BR>
      <DIV align=3Dcenter>
      <SCRIPT>DisplayAds('SquarLAV',12,14);</SCRIPT>

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      </DIV><BR><BR><BR>One of the residents said that owner of the =
shack that=20
      first caught alight had apparently left a candle burning and went =
out to=20
      visit friends. <BR><BR>S'bu Zikode, chairperson of the Baha'i=20
      Basemjondolo, an organisation that represents shack dwellers, said =
the=20
      fire had spread from shack to shack within minutes. =
<BR><BR>"Fortunately=20
      we were able to send out the message quickly for everyone to =
evacuate. The=20
      fire spread so quickly that none of the residents had time to =
remove their=20
      belongings," he said.<BR><BR>Firefighters worked tirelessly =
through the=20
      night battling to put out the flames and to ensure that it did not =
spread=20
      further. <BR><BR>Zikode said while there were no deaths or serious =

      injuries, the situation would have been far worse if all the =
families had=20
      been at home.<BR><BR>"Most of the residents were not around; they =
are=20
      visiting their families in the rural areas, so many of them do not =
even=20
      know their homes have been destroyed. In fact, they will have =
nothing=20
      except the clothes on their back when they return," he =
said.<BR><BR>Police=20
      spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said a disaster plan =
had been=20
      put in place and that aid would be sent for the destitute =
families.=20
      <BR><BR>"The families are being housed at a local community centre =
until=20
      they are able to rebuild their homes," he said. <BR><BR>Mdunge =
said an=20
      investigation had been launched into the cause of the fire. =
<BR><BR>Zikode=20
      said some of the residents had returned to the site early on =
Wednesday in=20
      the hope of rebuilding their shacks.<BR><BR>"Many of them are =
struggling=20
      because the material was destroyed and we are appealing to people =
to help=20
      the families. They are left with nothing. <BR><BR>"They don't have =

      clothes, blankets or food, and the small children and women are =
the worst=20
      off," he said.<BR><BR>Zikode added that Baha'i Basemjondolo had =
tried to=20
      get assistance from non-government organisations, but that many =
were=20
      closed during the Christmas =
period.<BR><BR></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV>
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