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Floods leave 32 dead in South Africa

By Ians

Johannesburg, March 18: Floods caused by heavy rains which affected most parts of South Africa left 32 dead and about 3, 000 displaced, authorities said on Monday.

"Regrettably, the present disaster events have resulted in 32 fatalities. These include 25 drownings. Six fatalities were also caused by lightning and one person died due to a collapsed wall," Xinhua quoted Andries Nel, deputy minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as saying.

"At this time, provincial reports indicate that 3,000 people are still displaced in the Lephalale Local Municipality (Limpopo district) due to the high water levels," Nel said.

He said water has subsided in other parts of the country with people returning to their homes which had been covered in water.

He added the government is trying to help those affected by the floods. "A number of people have been rescued from the roofs of their vehicles and several were trapped in their homes. Rescue efforts continue in the search for these missing people," he said, adding the government is still looking for those reported missing.

"There has been considerable damage to roads and bridges, houses, and water pumps, pipes and other water infrastructure. In some areas communities are unable to access workplaces, health services, shelter and schools." The government could not provide the cost of damage caused by the rain as the assessment is still underway.

The government advised South Africans to follow the weather forecasts and be vigilant while driving.

"On Monday and Tuesday we expect floods in Mpumalanga and low lying areas of Limpopo provinces. We will continue to have isolated showers on Thursday and in future but not like the one we had," said Johan Vermeulen, the weather forecaster from the South African Weather Service.


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