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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Floods in South African townships
Richard Hamilton
BBC, Cape Town

A mother and daughter in Cape Town
Rescue services are concerned as more rain is forecast
At least 15,000 people have been left homeless after several days of storms and heavy rains around the South African city of Cape Town.

The weather bureau says the area has experienced its heaviest rainfall for this time of year in 48 years.

Most of the flood victims come from the former townships such as Gugulethu, Langa and Nyanga on the outskirts of the city.

The number of people made homeless is expected to rise.

The townships affected were built during the apartheid era on the city's low-lying marshlands, known as the Cape Flats.

As a result, the shacks of these shanty towns are the most exposed to the elements.

Local people have reported seeing their clothes float away, while others have been reluctant to leave their homes in case their possessions are stolen.

Days of storms and incessant rains have caused the nearby rivers to burst their banks.

Winds of up to 65km an hour (40 miles an hour) have been recorded around the Cape Peninsula.

The rescue services say the situation is likely to get worse.

They are appealing to people who own four-wheel drive cars to help reach some of the worst-affected areas.

Country profile: South Africa
21 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: South Africa
02 Jul 04  |  Country profiles

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