Eight people have been killed and thousands forced from their homes as South Africa’s tourist base Cape Town and surrounding areas were hit by the worst winter storm in 30 years, officials said on Wednesday.
The storm is expected to dump more than two inches (50 mm) of rain in some areas and trigger waves of up to 12 meters, the South African Weather Service said in warnings.
Millions of people in shanty towns, who have previously had to cope with the region’s worst drought in a century, have been hardest hit, with floods and heavy rain washing away homes built of planks and zinc sheets.
“Eight people have died so far in storm-related incidents and thousands have been displaced,” 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 army, police and other emergency services were on hand to evacuate anyone stranded by the storm and to provide emergency shelter and food.