Gvt departments combine efforts to assist Port Elizabeth fire victims

JANUARY 13, 2016

Government departments, convened by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Rapid Response Task Team, combined efforts to provide relief for a family from Gelvandale and another from Schauderville last week after their houses were severely damaged during recent fires, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality said on Tuesday.

The house of Mr Allan Damons in Zimdahl Street, Gelvandale was razed to the ground on Sunday, 27 December and Ms Elian Lepico from Coleridge Street, Schauderville suffered the same fate on Sunday, 3 January.

Even though the beginning of 2016 started with the loss of property, both these families can now start rebuilding their lives with the help of government – local and provincial – and concerned neighbours and family members.

Lepico showered praise on Mayor Jordaan who visited her and her family on the day of the devastation.

“The Mayor came to my house after 20:00 on the day of the fire. I am very grateful and appreciate everything that is being done for me,” she said. Although the Executive Mayor could not visit Damons personally, the man Gelvandale echoed the same sentiments.

Mr Zonile Ndoni, Coordinator of the Rapid Response Task Team, said the clean-up of rubble was done in conjunction with the Waste Management Directorate and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) provided food parcels at both addresses.

“The children of the Schauderville family received free issues of their birth certificates from the Home Affairs Department and the Damons family will also receive the same as soon as outstanding information is obtained.

“The Human Settlements Department will prioritize temporary shelters for both shelters that will be electrified by our Electricity Sub-directorate after delivery.

“The Provincial Department of Social Development tasked social workers to interview the families to ascertain what else can be done to assist them,” Ndoni said.

Although the devastation to the lives of these families can never be undone, Lepico’s neighbour Mary-Ann de Klerk said the speedy action by Executive Mayor Jordaan must be appreciated.