Veld fire leaves woman dead

   Veld fire leaves woman dead

8 September 2009

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South Africa — One woman died and two others were injured when veld fires swept through parts of the Eastern Cape, police said on Tuesday.

Superintendent Mzukisi Fatyela said the fires started before midday on Sunday and strong winds fanned them throughout Monday night.

“It has since been contained but a 21-year-old woman and a 40-year-old [woman] were burnt and taken to hospital,” he said.

They are reportedly in a stable condition.

Butterworth police said a 36-year-old woman died on Monday after trying to extinguish a fire in Willowvale.

Some of the worst devastation was seen in the Ngqeleni area, roughly 40km outside Mthatha.

“Many homes have been burnt down and people’s belongings destroyed,” said Fatyela.

He was unable to estimate the cost of the damage.

At least 82 homes and eight farms were evacuated on Monday.

Residents sought shelter at community halls and relatives’ homes.

Last week, six people died in veld fires in the province.

Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said a mass funeral was expected to take place on Wednesday.

“Some burn victims are still recovering patients in hospital,” he said.

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