Public urged to assist fire survivors

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pretoria - The Gauteng Health and Social Development has urged the public to come on board and assist the survivors of a fire that gutted the Pieter Wessels old age home in Nigel, Ekurhuleni.

The elderly people were left homeless on Sunday night when a fire broke out at the home killing 18 people and injuring about 40 others.

The survivors are currently being accommodated at the Zanele Mbeki Home (former Tina Foster) in Dunnottar.

Earlier today, Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu visited the old age home to assess the damage and also to look at ways in which the department can assist.

"Counseling services are being offered to the survivors, their families and the families of the deceased, and the department is also working with owners of the home to co-ordinate donations," said Mahlangu.

Mahlangu urged people with donations of food and clothes, which are urgently needed, to drop them off at the Zanele Mbeki Home.

Financial donations can be deposited at Absa Bank, Account name TC Adra, Account number 1001390755, Branch code 334143, reference P Wessels FCC. Interested donors can also contact Pastor Louis Gouws on 016 342 0308.

Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Edna Molewa has also conveyed her condolences to the families and friends of the elderly who died in the blaze.

"We convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased, saddened that death has robbed us of an opportunity to learn from their wisdom and fulfilling experiences that could shape our understanding of the times we live in," Molewa said.

She also wished a speedy recovery to those injured. "Our social workers are readily available to offer counseling for the surviving victims and the families of the deceased."