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Torrential rains kill 32 in South Africa in two weeks
by Staff Writers
Johannesburg (AFP) March 17, 2014


Storms cloud are seen over Johannesburg on March 12. 2014 the country has been hit by heavy rains for the past ten days. Photo courtesy AFP.

Torrential and persistent rains which have pounded parts of South Africa over the past two weeks have claimed 32 lives, the government said on Monday.

At least 3,000 people have been displaced, said a statement by the ministry for regional and local government.

Of the death toll, 25 people were swept away by flood waters while six were killed by lightning strikes and one died after a wall collapsed.

Most of the affected areas were in the north, northwestern and eastern parts of the country.

"A number of people have been rescued from the roofs of their vehicles and several were trapped in their homes," said deputy minister Andries Nel.

Experts say the rains, which washed away roads and bridges as rivers burst their banks, were some of the heaviest experienced in more than a decade.

The heavy downpours also plunged the country, Africa's most developed country, into darkness for the first time in six years.

The state power utility Eskom, which supplies around 95 percent of the country's electricity, blamed the rain for soaking the coal stockpiles used by its power generation plants.

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