South Africa storms claim 5 lives

 08 Jun 2017 - 14:07

South Africa storms claim 5 lives
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 7: People stand over the bridge as the huge waves hit coastline during the heavy storm in Cape Town, South Africa on June 7, 2017. ( Ashraf Hendricks - Anadolu Agency ).


JOHANNESBURG: At least five people were killed Wednesday during raging storms in South Africa's western city of Cape Town, the city's disaster risk management confirmed.

Disaster management officials told reporters that four people were killed in a fire caused by lightning while a 60-year-old man died after an informal structure collapsed on him.

The storm, which has not yet reached its peak, hit parts of the Cape Peninsula on Tuesday night destroying homes and breaking trees.

South Africa’s Weather Service forecast late Tuesday hail, snowfall and gale force winds exceeding 90 km/hour in parts of the Western Cape Province in the next 24 hours. 

The cold weather is expected to continue throughout the week, according to the weather service which also warned residents to stay indoors.

Western Cape authorities ordered for the closure of schools and universities in the province on Wednesday for the safety of students and teachers.

Disaster Management Centre spokesman James Stayn said in a tweet that their main concern was around the ocean swelling up to 12 meters along the coastal areas from 1 p.m. (1200GMT) on Wednesday.

"Disaster Management cautions the public to avoid the beach, rivers, dams and desist from outdoors activities like hiking," Stayn wrote.

An Anadolu Agency video journalist in Cape Town said there were few people walking in the city with most businesses closed. 

According to forecasters, this is one of the worst storms to hit Cape Town, known as the crown jewel of South Africa’s tourism.