Thousands evacuated in South Africa as storm fans fires

09 June, 2017, 09:24 | Author: Jacqueline Ellis
  • Firefighter dies in the Southern Cape

"Eight people have died so far in storm-related incidents and thousands have been displaced", said James-Brent Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape local government ministry.

Residents of Plettenberg Bay and Knysna in South Africa's Western Cape were evacuated from their homes following severe fires that ripped through several areas on June 7 and 8.

The young girl was found dead by her father on Thursday morning in tourist destination Knysna on the country's popular south coast Garden Route.

The storm killed eight people, including three who died in a fire, and dumped heavy rain on Cape Town, west of Knysna. His death brought the death toll from the storm to nine.

The winds also fanned the flames of a wildfire burning at Knysna, a town east of Cape Town, which forced 10,000 people to flee their homes.

Via twitter, many people have been volunteering their homes and cars for those leaving the area of the blaze. By Thursday, some rain had fallen and a number of fires had abated.

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However, strong winds and billowing smoke made it hard for emergency responders to use helicopters, the African News Agency reported.

According to reports, the fire in Knysna is the largest and most destructive fire in a built up area in the Western Cape.

The company said its engineers were now on site in Cape Town to recharge backup batteries that power the affected sites. Power cuts were reported across the area.

The drought-stricken Western Cape remains in dire need of rain, but the storms "are definitely not what we need right now as they cause more havoc than solutions", Zuma said.

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