My city is on fire

Cape Town fire
A rescue helicopter in action: photograph by Laura Flint:

For the past few days I’ve watched helplessly with countless others as our beloved Cape Town has caught fire. The flames started in Muizenberg on Sunday and raged through Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak, Tokai, Noordhoek and Hout Bay. Approximately 300 people have been evacuated in total, and firefighters have been working inexhaustibly to keep the flames at bay. A number of homes have been destroyed and many continue to be at risk. It’s utterly devastating witnessing this destruction. The city is smothered in ash and smog, and the sound of the choppers is a constant, and reassuring hum. Everywhere, there’s sadness and fear, but there’s also hope. It’s been a wonderful thing to witness communities coming together to do everything in their power to support each other and the firefighters.

The Hout Bay group I’m part of has been posting updates by the minute, most of which centre around one single question: What can I do to help? And it’s the same everywhere. All around people are generously donating their time and money to help in any way they can. The firefighters have been kept constantly supplied with meals, drinks and ice, with many businesses and individuals taking the initiative to give generously. People are flocking to volunteer to help evacuees, and yesterday, when someone posted about assisting with horse evacuations, the immense number of offers of assistance was inspiring. Animals are being offered places of refuge, people are being offered places to stay, and the firefighters are being recognised as the heroes they are, with encouragement, gratitude and support for their bravery everywhere.

So in the midst of all this tragedy and heartache, there is light and love. There’s hope and friendship. And there’s a promise of newness and rebirth. But for now, let’s continue this outpouring of goodwill and do all we can to support our firefighters and those who have lost their homes.

If you want to help I suggest joining this group on Facebook to know which food/ drink/ other items are needed by the firefighters and communities affected. Volunteer Wildfire Services are currently asking for food coupons rather than fresh food donations, to be able to buy fresh food in the coming weeks.

You can donate to Volunteer Wildfire Services by following this link. Alternatively, here are their banking details for a direct donation.

Volunteer Wildfire Services
Branch: Foreshore
Branch Code: 108309
Account Number: 1083321226

If you find animals in distress, please contact Four Paws, the SPCA or Tears. Please leave small bowls of water on the perimeters of your property for little creatures fleeing from the flames. Don’t approach wild animals (snakes, porcupines, etc.) – call professionals to come and assist you. The Lakeside Fire Station is currently asking for donations of 2 litre ice cream tubs to collect saved tortoises in.

For more ways you can help, please refer to this post.

Stay strong Cape Town, I’m so proud of you.





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