South Africa is inundated

Days of torrential rain have caused widespread flooding.
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2013 09:46
The rain poured in Soweto during preparations for the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations [AFP]

Six people are confirmed to have died in South Africa after torrential rains hit the eastern parts of the country. This death toll could well rise after the extent of the damage becomes clear in the next few days.

The worst hit region has been the northeast, in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Many houses had been flooded, and some of the roads have been washed away. Some homes even collapsed in the torrential downpours.

In the town of Thohoyandou, in Limpopo, 445mm of rain was been reported in the last three days. This is almost three times the average rainfall that is expected in the entire month of January, which is the wettest month of the year.

In the extreme east of the country, extensive flooding swamped parts of Kruger National Park. The park is a top tourist destination which is home to Africa's big five - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino – and is roughly the same size as Wales.

Mapungubwe National Park, a world heritage site in the far north of the country, was also badly affected. On Sunday, 45 people were air-lifted to safety, but the rescue of a further 289 people had to be postponed until the following day.

The evacuees had become stranded after taking refuge on rooftops and mountains, in an attempt to escape the floods.

The rain has now eased over the country, so the floodwaters should slowly recede over the coming few days.


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