This Sunday a fire reached the facilities of the prestigious University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, including the library that housed rare and unique books.
It is a real tragedy for the universal literature.
The flames destroyed several buildings of the university founded in 1829. One of the oldest and most important in Africa.
Unbelievable – the UCT libraries with priceless rare books is being gutted by the #CapeTownFire (Video from WhatsApp) pic.twitter.com/7RI4dsxD3U
– Kimon de Greef (@kimondegreef) April 18, 2021
Several buildings were affected by the fire, including the Jagger Library, which houses valuable collections of ancient books and manuscripts and of which at least two floors were burned.
The fire started in the morning on the slope of the nearby and famous Table Mountain, which is part of the homonymous national park and dominates the city of Cape Town, and spread to the UTC campus.
“The students were evacuated from the residences and taken to predetermined places”, confirmed the spokesperson of the UTC, Nombuso Shabalala, underlining that the city authorities work with South African National Parks (SANParks), the body that manages these spaces in the southern country, to “Extinguish the fire.”
The NGO Gift of the Givers, which offers disaster relief, indicated in its Twitter social network account that it has prepared food for 4,000 students tonight, at the request of the University.
“The safety of students and staff is paramount”, stressed the vice-chancellor of the UTC, Mamokgethi Phakeng, who declared herself “concerned about the extent of the damage” on campus.
UCT Library’s special collections in the Jagger Building… destroyed
😢 irreplaceable. # Uctfire #capetownfire pic.twitter.com/M6P0FRQkkz
– Tracey Nic (@ Triashle1) April 18, 2021
Up to four helicopters and more than 120 firefighters deployed to the mountain to try to douse the flames, Table Mountain National Park Fire Manager Philip Prins reported.
Even in the afternoon, the firefighters were still fighting to put out the fire, which injured a member of that body, who had to receive medical attention at a nearby hospital.
The fire partially destroyed the restaurant next to a monument in memory of the British magnate, colonizer and politician Cecil Rhodes.
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