PICS: Ramaphosa hails those who have jumped in to support devastated Wupperthal community

2018-12-31 17:32

President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness on Monday over a fire which left at least 200 people homeless and destroyed historic buildings in the small Western Cape town of Wupperthal.

The small Cederberg town saw its Moravian Mission Station, clinic and town hall completely destroyed over the weekend.

The West Coast District Municipality indicated that 53 structures had been destroyed.

"The nation's thoughts go out to the people of Wupperthal who have suffered terrible personal losses alongside cultural assets that are of importance to all South Africans and especially Moravian congregations across the Western Cape," said Ramaphosa in a statement.

A fire in Wupperthal town.

Burnt buildings. (Supplied)

He said government departments would work with the community to bring relief to the area.

Ramaphosa also commended initiatives launched by different communities and organisations to assist Wupperthal residents.

A fire in Wupperthal town.

A fire continues to ravage a building in Wupperthal. (Supplied)

The City of Cape Town's Wilfred Solomon-Johannes said emergency workers and ambulances from the provincial government had assisted the fire victims overnight.

He said the telecommunications infrastructure had been completely destroyed, leaving the community unable to communicate efficiently.

A fire in Wupperthal town.

Damaged houses in a fire in Wupperthal. (Supplied)

It is understood that the provincial disaster management centre will do an aerial assessment on Monday to determine the extent of the damage.

"That will be while health officials assist with the dispensing of medication, especially for the aged and frail care, as many of the people living in the Wupperthal town are old people," Solomons-Johannes added.

A fire in Wupperthal town.

A building can be seen burning in the distance. (Supplied)

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has been informed of the situation, in order to assist with the provision of clothes, tents and food.

A fire in Wupperthal town.

Remains after a fire destroys buildings in Wupperthal. (Supplied)

"The assistance from neighbouring towns and municipalities of Clanwilliam, Piketberg, Vredenburg, Malmesbury (Swartland), Cederberg, Matzikama and Bergriver is much appreciated in attempts to bring the raging blaze under control," said Solomons-Johannes.

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