The Salvation Army Distributes Food, Hygiene and Household Supplies Following Cape Town Fire

January 13, 2021
Christopher Priest | chris.priest@uss.salvationarmy.org | (678) 485-4735

The Salvation Army in South Africa is bringing assistance to some of the thousands of individuals affected by a major fire which over many hours destroyed hundreds of homes in the Masiphumelele settlement, Cape Town, South Africa. The blaze struck just before Christmas 2020 and has forced more than 5,000 people to leave their homes. The housing, in the Fish Hoek area of the city, is largely informally constructed, densely packed and poorly resourced with amenities.

Working closely with the City of Cape Town authority and other local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), The Salvation Army has identified 1,400 individuals for whom the most pressing needs are emergency food relief, hygiene packs and kits of household equipment to replace that lost to the fire. 

Lieut-Colonel Mercy Mahlangu, The Salvation Army’s Divisional Director of Women’s Ministries for the Western Cape, observes that the Masiphumelele community has come together in the crisis. ‘Homes were burnt to the ground,’ she says, ‘which means that some families have lost everything they had. NGOs, individuals and businesses have donated essential items such as clothing, food, blankets, mattresses, bread, etc, and yet there’s still a dire need.’ 

Salvation Army teams, working with colleagues from the Living Hope organization in the township, have been on site in the settlement distributing bucket food hampers as well as nutritious ready-to-eat meals. Plastic basins, cooking pots and two-plate stoves have been provided to 350 families, with a similar number receiving hygiene packs including hand soap, face cloths and dental care items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste.  

Lieut-Colonel Mahlangu further notes that ‘continued support will also be required when families are placed in temporary shelters’, as plans to rebuild their homes are devised. Mindful of the fact that Masiphumelele is a Xhosa language word meaning ‘let us succeed’, The Salvation Army is keen to work with the community to help it achieve this outcome. 

From reports from Southern Africa Territory
IHQ Communications
International Headquarters 

•    Photos to illustrate this story are available via the IHQ Flickr channel at sar.my/capetownfire

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The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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