12 dead in E Cape veld fire

   12 dead in E Cape veld fire

8 September 2009

published by www.newstoday.co.za

South Africa — At least 12 people have died in veld fires which have swept parts of the Eastern Cape since last week, the provincial health department said today.

The runaway fires were being fanned by strong winds throughout last night but with the help of two military helicopters were brought under control early today.

“The fire destroyed more than 61 households in five villages (Nqume, Ngengane, Vlei, Dolophini and Mfundisweni) in the Lusikisiki district,” he said.

Authorities estimated that at least 11 people per household were left destitute. In the Libode area, Kupelo said five women died last Sunday when five rondavels caught alight in the Bhukwini village.

Butterworth police said a 36-year-old woman died after trying to extinguish a fire in the Willowvale area yesterday evening. Kupelo said there were minimal injuries.

One person was recovering in the intensive care unit at the Nelson Mandela Academic hospital, while two women were being treated at the Barnabas Hospital.

Mass funeral
Kupelo said a mass funeral for the five Libode women would take place in the Bhukwini village on Wednesday and the costs would be paid for by the Nyandeni municipality.

Kupelo said that following an assessment, some areas might be declared disaster zones as the damage was “too” extensive. At least 82 homes and eight farms were evacuated in that area on Monday.

Residents sought shelter at community halls and relatives’ homes. The cost of the destruction was believed to be running into millions of rands, if not more.

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