Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 17:19 UK

South Africa bush fires 'kill 20'


More than 100 bush fires across South Africa have left at least 20 people dead over the weekend, officials say.

Several different fires left 14 dead in KwaZulu-Natal province, the EMRS ambulance service said.

Three people including two children died in the Eastern Cape when their shack caught fire, according to police.

The fires were being fanned by strong winds, which also left dozens homeless in Cape Town. A weather forecaster said the winds and fires would continue.

"There are still fires burning on the eastern Highveld, in Swaziland and northern KwaZulu-Natal and there are isolated fires over Limpopo," said Evert Scholtz, according to the Sapa news agency.

The fires also left three people dead in Mpumalanga province, according to a Working on Fire (WoF) spokesman.

About 50,000 hectares (125,000 acres) of land has been burnt, Sapa reports.

"This particular situation has never been experienced before. Reports are coming in from all over the country," Percy Morokane from Johannebsurg's Emergency Services told the BBC.

The National Sea Rescue Institute has urged people not to go into the sea because of storms and high waves.

Country profile: South Africa
31 May 08 |  Country profiles

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