Shack fires in South Africa

Fire is a serious hazard in shack settlements in South Africa.[1] It has been argued that "On average in South Africa over the last five years there are ten shack fires a day with someone dying in a shack fire every other day."[2]

Contents

  • Causes of Shack Fires 1
  • Responses to Shack Fires 2
  • Further reading 3
  • Notes and references 4

Causes of Shack Fires

Shack fires are often termed accidents but this has been contested by shack dweller's organisations.[3] Martin J. Murray argues that by "recruiting human frailty or sheer accident to their cause, key city-builders have been able to rationalize municipal policy-choices that have accomplished little toward changing the circumstances under which the urban poor—who bear the awful brunt of these continuing cycles of death and destruction — tend to invariably find themselves in harm’s way."[4]

Matt Birkinshaw lists the key reasons for shack fires as lack of land, lack of housing, denial of access to electricity, adequate water and to adequate emergency services.[5]

Responses to Shack Fires

The charitable NGO 'Children of Fire' offers support for victims of fires, and in particular to children.[6]

The shack dwellers' social movement

  1. ^ A Big Devil in the Jondolos: A report on shack fires, by Matt Birkinshaw, Abahlali baseMjondolo, 2008
  2. ^ The Politics of Fire, Matt Birkinshaw, Pambazuka, 2008
  3. ^ Shack Fires are No Accident, School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2005
  4. ^ Fire and Ice: Unnatural Disasters and the Disposable Urban Poor in Post-Apartheid Johannesburg, by Martin J. Murray, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp. 165–192, March 2009
  5. ^ The Politics of Fire, Matt Birkinshaw, Pambazuka, 2008
  6. ^ About Children of Fire, Children of Fire, undated
  7. ^ Collection of statements on shack fires by Abahlali baseMjondolo
  8. ^ 'Getting electricity was so exciting', The Guardian (UK), 2011

Notes and references

  • Shack Fires are No Accident, School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2005
  • The Solution to Shack Fires is Electrification, Not More Training, South African Civil Society Information Service, 2008
  • A Big Devil in the Jondolos: A report on shack fires, by Matt Birkinshaw, Abahlali baseMjondolo, 2008
  • Fire and Ice: Unnatural Disasters and the Disposable Urban Poor in Post-Apartheid Johannesburg, by Martin J. Murray, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp. 165–192, March 2009 DOI:10.1111/j.1468-2427.2009.00835.x
  • “… we are being left to burn because we do not count“ : Biopolitics, Abandonment, and Resistance, by Anna Selmeczi, Global Society, Volume 23, Number 4, pp. 519–538, October 2009 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13600820903198933
  • 'Getting electricity was so exciting', Interview with Zodwa Nsibande, The Guardian (UK), 2011
  • In the wake of the Makause shack fire, the destitute and forgotten, The Daily Maverick, 2012
  • Shack fires: A devil in the detail of development, The Daily Maverick, 2013

Further reading

[8]

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