Buildings were ravaged by fire and houses flattened in several towns

Hundreds of families in Cape Town on Easter weekend faced hard times as fires broke at multiple informal settlements, leaving two dead and more than 700 people homeless.

The fire began on Saturday evening and continued until the early hours of Sunday morning. The City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Services throughout the night stayed occupied in controlling the fire.

The spokesperson for the Fire and Rescue Services Jermaine Carelse said the first call reporting structures alight in Mshumpela Way, Langa, came in at 7:20 p.m. on Saturday.

"We had 11 firefighting vehicles on the scene, with approximately 40 staff. By 9:40 pm, the fire was extinguished – no injuries or fatalities were reported. Initial estimates were that approximately 40 structures were affected," Carelse said, Daily Voice reported.

As the fires continued to grow, the humanitarian organization Gift of the Givers was present at the scene. The organization's spokesperson Ali Sablay noted that the affected families who lost everything in the fire would have a bleak Easter this year.

Gift of the Givers volunteers also played a role in ensuring that firefighters, battling with the fire all night, remained hydrated by providing refreshments. Gift of the Givers was there on the scene to provide humanitarian assistance to families in need.

At 11:20 p.m., firefighters were notified of informal structures ablaze in Site 5, Du Noon.

"We had 12 firefighting resources and over 50 staff members on site - an Incident Management Team (IMT) type 4 was also activated to assist with scene management," Carelse said. "By 4:30 am the blaze was extinguished – approximately 80 structures were affected. No injuries or fatalities were reported."

Around 1:35 a.m., firefighters were redirected back to Mshumpela Way in Langa following the outbreak of a second fire.

"A total of 10 firefighting vehicles were on scene from various fire stations and firefighters managed to contain and extinguish the fire by 4:25 a.m. It is estimated that approximately 50 informal structures were affected. One person was assaulted by the members of the public and was taken to a nearby medical facility," Carelse said.

At 2:30 a.m., firefighters were notified about another informal structure on fire on Umzumbe Street in Mfuleni. "More than 50 firefighters were on scene, with over a dozen firefighting vehicles," Carelse said.

He added, "By 8:50 a.m., firefighters extinguished the blaze, with an estimated 150 structures destroyed in the incident," revealing that two people died in this incident including "An adult male and female sustained fatal burn wounds" declared deceased by medics.

"One person sustained serious injuries and was treated and transported to a hospital, while another person (an adult male) was treated for a laceration to his arm," Carelse shared. "The cause of the fire is unknown pending an investigation by the South African Police Service."

The City of Cape Town's Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said the department has already alerted humanitarian aid partners to provide assistance to everyone affected by the fires by giving them food, blankets, clothing and toiletry packs, etc.