Floods, fires ravage South Africa

Floods, fires ravage South Africa

30 July 2007

published by news.bbc.co.uk


South Africa — Flooding in Cape Town has displaced some 38,000 people, mostly from squatter camps around the South African city, a local official says.

Food and blankets are being distributed to those affected, who are being housed in municipal buildings.

On the other side of the country, in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, bushfires have killed at least 19 people and destroyed over 30,000 acres of land.

Fires have also killed two people in neighbouring Swaziland, police say.

“We still do not know the actual cause of the fire but we suspect it might be due to the very dry weather conditions in the affected areas,” said Mtholephi Mthimkhulu from KZN’s agriculture and environmental affairs department.

The fires in KwaZulu-Natal are now reported to be under control.

More rains are forecast for later in the week around Cape Town.

The city’s disaster management spokesman Johan Minnie said it was the highest number of people hit by flooding in five years.

“We are stretched, especially in terms of supplying disaster relief. We are at capacity at the moment,” he said, according to Reuters news agency.

The department says there is one benefit from all the rain – a new dam in the Western Cape is now filling up.


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