Eight dead, hundreds homeless in worst Cape storm in 30 years

By MIKE LOEWE and REUTERS

Eight people have been killed and hundreds forced from their homes as Cape Town and surrounding areas are lashed by the worst winter storm in 30 years.

MARKED: The Sea Point promenade in Cape Town is sprayed with foam during yesterday’s storm Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

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

The people in shanty towns – who have just recently been trying to cope with the region’s worst drought in a century – have been hardest hit, with wind and floods of heavy rain washing away their homes built of planks and zinc sheets.

“Eight people have died so far in storm-related incidents,” said James-Brent Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape local government ministry.

He said in one incident a family of four died in a fire caused by lightning, while another person died due to a building collapse.

The cold front sweeps over the Eastern Cape today with gale-force winds expected between Plettenberg Bay and Port Alfred, said SA Weather Services spokesman in Port Elizabeth, Garth Sampson.

Isolated showers are expected along the coast between Plettenberg bay and Port Alfred, but that is where the rain stops.

No rain is expected for the eastern half of the province.

A light snowfall is possible over the southern Drakensberg in the north of the Eastern Cape, said Sampson.

Tomorrow it will clear gradually from the west.

Yesterday, almost 800 families had been recorded homeless as a result of wind and flood damage‚ said City of Cape Town disaster management spokesman Charlotte Powell. — mikel@dispatch.co.za

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