Financial assistance for fire victims' families

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pretoria - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development will help with the burial costs of the people who lost their lives in a fire that broke out at an orphanage outside Newcastle.

Eleven people, including the facility owner Sara Holland, eight children and two adults, were burnt to death after being trapped in a fire on Tuesday morning at the Hope of Christ Home outside Newcastle.

With Holland's assistance, nine children were able to escape the fire and were rushed to the Newcastle provincial hospital.

Mandla Ngema, spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development, said the department will assist with the burial costs and offer counseling for the survivors and the families of the deceased.

"The department's MEC, Meshack Radebe, and the provincial cabinet will in the afternoon visit the home to see the extent of the damage and check what assistance they can offer before they proceed to the hospital to visit the survivors," Ngema told BuaNews.

He said they were yet to establish what had caused the fire.

"We are waiting for the experts to establish the real cause of the fire. We can't estimate the damage at the moment, everything was burnt to ashes," he said.