Three dead as S.Africa reels under heavy rain and snow
7/15/2012 9:00:18 PM -
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - At least three people were found dead Sunday and thousands were evacuated as rains and snow battered South Africa's southeast, officials and media reports said.
A 69-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman were found frozen on separate roads in the Eastern Cape province Sunday morning, police spokesman Mzukisi Fatyela told Sapa news agency.
Anther person drowned in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth in the same province, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported. A further two people were feared dead after they were washed away.
Rescue workers evacuated over 2,000 people in Port Elizabeth between Saturday and Sunday as rising waters flooded settlements.
The main highways linking the north and south of the country were reopened on Sunday afternoon, said Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesman Ashraf Ismail.
Around 500 trucks held up in Johannesburg started their journey to Cape Town in the south, Ismail told AFP.
Dozens of trucks had been stuck on the routes overnight after heavy snow had closed them down.
Thousands of people were moved to community centres as floods hit Port Elizabeth, said municipal spokesman Kupido Barron.
"We assisted more than 2,000 people," he told AFP, with mattresses, soup and blankets.
Over 100 millimetres (four inches) of rain fell over the area in three days, with more heavy showers predicted through Sunday night.
Television footage showed roads submerged and snow-covered landscapes.