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Cape Town coastal resort fire kills five people, including two children

 At least five people, including two children, were killed while thousands of others fled their homes as fires ravaged a South African coastal town on Wednesday night.




The Knysna Provincial Hospital was one the structures that was in flames in town. Patients were evacuated in busses and ambulances and were sheltered at nearby squash courts.

Three of the dead were a farmworker‚ his wife and their three-year-old son, who died as the flames engulfed their home in the suburb of Rheenendal, outside Knysna.

A four-year-old girl was found dead by her father in the suburb of Welbedaght in Knysna on Thursday morning.

An elderly man who lived in the suburb of Brenton died after a heart attack during the fires.

Provincial government spokesman James-Brent Styan said 8,000 to 10,000 people were evacuated during the fires.

“The fire in Knysna is the largest and most destructive fire in recent memory with thousands displaced,” Mr Styan said.

The winds came after a powerful storm caused flooding and enormous waves in Cape Town on Tuesday night.

South Africa’s weather service said winds had exceeded 55 miles an hour in parts of the Western Cape province.

The South African government sent the military to Knysna on Thursday morning to help with humanitarian efforts and prevent looting.

The British consul-general in Cape Town, Edward Roman, said a team had been sent to the area to “monitor the situation” and to provide assistance to British nationals who live in the area.

An emergency services spokesman said it is unclear was caused the fire, which was largely doused by rain on Thursday morning.

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