Western Cape natural disaster death toll rises to 11

2017-06-11 13:46
Knysna fires (File)

Knysna fires (File)

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Cape Town – The death count from natural disasters in the Western Cape rose to 11 over the weekend, following the death of a 63-year-old man in Concordia outside Knysna on Saturday.

Large wildfires, which are still burning in the Eden District Municipality in the Southern Cape, have caused a total of six deaths since Wednesday, while the heavy storms that battered the Cape Peninsula killed five people earlier in the week.

Western Cape local government spokesperson James-Brent Styan said on Sunday morning that reports received on Saturday of injuries to five firefighters could now be confirmed as minor.

One firefighter, volunteer Bradley Richards, died on Friday after suffering severe burns.

In an update on the Eden District municipality fires in and around Knysna, Styan said lower wind speeds had made it easier for water-bombing SANDF helicopters’ fixed-wing spotter planes to combat the blaze.

On Saturday, helicopters had been grounded due to the danger of flying in gale-force winds.

"Aircraft were airborne shortly before 09:00 as the morning fog and smog lifted," said Styan. The Eden District fireline, which is being battled by hundreds of firefighters, currently stretches 100km between the towns of Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay.

This fire is separate from another series of major fires near Port Elizabeth, which have destroyed numerous buildings and on Saturday led to the deaths of an elderly couple.

The devastation has led to a major relief aid operation, with banks, supermarkets, charities and thousands of members of the public sending blankets, food, water, toiletries and money to affected areas.

Read more on:    cape town  |  knysna  |  fires
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