Published: Fri, June 09, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

At Least 8 Dead As Storm Hammers Cape Town Coastline

At Least 8 Dead As Storm Hammers Cape Town Coastline

Three people were killed in the Eden District municipality, an area popular with tourists east of Cape Town, while four others died in a fire sparked by lightning, said James Brent-Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape regional government.

With gail force winds, a fire along the N2 between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna is spreading and has caused the road to be closed.

Nearly 10 000 people were forced to evacuate their homes from about 20 suburbs and at least 300 structures were completely destroyed, with many more still in danger, the provincial ministry for local government said.

In this video, which was shown live on Facebook, the shells of several burnt-out houses can be seen, as well as live fires in other buildings.

Thousands of people have been left homeless, according to Western Cape officials, with the millions living in shanty towns the hardest hit. He said there was little hope of stopping the fire and officials would just continue evacuating all those in its path.

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Strong winds which fanned the runaway flames had prevented any aerial assistance to the ground teams who have been working to contain the fires since Wednesday. However, hundreds of homes were flooded or damaged, authorities said.

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

Emergency services have begun evacuating parts of Knysna in the Western Cape as a massive fire raged late into the evening on Wednesday.

While Cape Town and surrounding areas have been suffering a severe drought, the rain was not expected to bring long-lasting relief.

Cape Town is also experiencing widespread power outages, which the city says are being assessed and attended to.

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