10000 evacuated and eight dead as fires engulf town in South Africa

Posted June 09, 2017

Eden District Municipality says flare-ups are causing most distress as residents are being urged to evacuate the area.

The storm killed eight people, including three who died in a fire in Knysna, and dumped heavy rain on Cape Town, west of Knysna.

At least 150 properties have been destroyed in Knysna, according to the fire service.

Eleanore Bouw-Spies, Knysna's mayor, described the fires as the worst in decades.

"At the present moment we are still dealing with fires that are out of control".

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Up to ten thousand people were evacuated from their homes as fires continued to ravage South Africa's Western Cape region on Thursday, fanned by a ferocious winter storm.

Official statements report that Brenton‚ Belvedere‚ Welbedacht‚ Nania‚ Eastford‚ Green Pastures and Knysna Heights had been evacuated so far. At least eight people were killed.

Meanwhile along the coast in Cape Town, local authorities are fighting devastating floods caused by the same storm that whipped up the flames along the coast.

The City of Cape Town has launched a donation campaign for those in need of help.

"Our hearts go out to those who have also lost their belongings, including their homes", President Jacob Zuma said.

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Schools were also closed on Wednesday due to the storm.

The storm is expected to dump more than two inches (50 mm) of rain in some areas and trigger waves of up to 12 meters, the South African Weather Service said in warnings.

While the storm provided some relief for a severe drought, officials said sustained rainfall over several years is needed in a city whose reservoirs are at low levels.

MTN engineers and support partners worked throughout the night to restore connectivity, while engineers were on site in Cape Town to recharge the backup batteries that power affected sites.

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