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20 burnt to death in raging infernos

By unknown | Sep 03, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletsheand Sapa

Canaan Mdletsheand Sapa

The death toll from runaway veld fires in KwaZulu-Natal has risen to 20.

Social welfare MEC Meshack Hadebe said the bodies were found after mopping-up operations yesterday.

"In one family four people had been reported dead, but yesterday another member of the same family was found dead, increasing the number to five," Hadabe said.

" So you can imagine the wrath of the infernos."

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele has declared Inkandla, in northern Zululand, a disaster area.

The provincial disaster management centre said yesterday that the number of households affected by the devastating fires had risen to 1112, while the number of people who were injured has increased to 59.

Animals have also suffered.

First indications from Free State and North West agricultural unions and fire officers were that hundreds of animals had been killed in veld fires.

The chief fire officer at the Bethlehem Fire Protection Association, Charl Genis, some figures coming in showed that about 190 sheep were burnt to death or had to be put down due to severe burns.

About 120 head of game and about 30 head of cattle also died in the fires.

The association was still assessing forms by farmers noting their damages.

Free State Transvaal Agricultural Union regional manager Tinus Taute said about 16000ha to 18000ha of land was destroyed during fires in the Bethlehem-Warden area.

Another fire in Lindley in the Free State had caused the destruction of about 4000ha.

Transvaal Agricultural Union regional manager for North West and Northern Cape Gert Cruywagen said there did not appear to have been any people or cattle killed in those areas.


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