10000 evacuated, 3 dead as fires engulf South African town

Posted June 09, 2017

"The fire in Knysna is the largest and most destructive fire in a built-up area in the Western Cape in recent memory with thousands displaced".

Nearly 10 000 people were forced to evacuate their homes from about 20 suburbs and at least 300 structures were completely destroyed, with many more still in danger, the provincial ministry for local government said.

However, experts believe the blaze was caused by strong winds caused by the ongoing storm in Cape Town, 500 kilometers west.

The expected influx of claims may not push the bigger property and casualty insurers into losses for the year, but companies like Zurich Insurance South Africa and Auto & General Insurance may struggle, Adrian Cloete, analyst at PSG Wealth, said in Cape Town. The N2 between the two coastal holiday towns were closed due to low visibility.

Official statements report that Brenton‚ Belvedere‚ Welbedacht‚ Nania‚ Eastford‚ Green Pastures and Knysna Heights had been evacuated so far.

Flames raged through dozens of homes in Knysna, leaving four people dead.

Fires also gutted some homes at Plettenberg Bay, east of Knysna. He said there was little hope of stopping the fire and officials would just continue evacuating all those in its path.

While many homes lost to the fires were upmarket, about 830 makeshift homes belonging to poor residents were flooded or had their roofs blown off in Cape Town, according to city authorities.

Working on Fire has deployed more than 120 firefighters to the area.

Staff ReporterThe Knysna Fire has ravaged vast distances and caused massive displacement.

"I'm scared to stay in my house because of wind", Cape Town resident Unati Sigcau said.

Panic was spreading‚ with some people struggling to locate their relatives.