18 Filipino seafarers saved after abandoning ship in stormy South African waters

JOHANNESBURG, July 9, 2024 (AFP)
– Strong winds and heavy rains have damaged buildings and left thousands of people homeless in South Africa, authorities said, as weather services warned Tuesday that more bad weather was coming.

The Cape Town region has been battered by several cold fronts over the past few days, with mountainous areas experiencing rare heavy snowfalls.

The Western Cape government said 82 schools were damaged, forcing five to remain closed on Tuesday. In some cases, wind gusts blew away roof sheeting.

Over the weekend, almost 4,000 people were left homeless as strong winds destroyed about 1,000 homes and other structures in the impoverished township of Khayelitsha.

Localised flooding, fallen trees, electricity outages and road closures were reported across the province, authorities said.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said 18 crew members of a cargo ship were rescued on Monday after they were forced to abandon their vessel as it listed severely in the rough seas.

The seafarers, all Filipino nationals, were found in a life raft off South Africa’s Atlantic coast and recovered by two nearby cargo vessels, it said.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) said more “disruptive rain leading to flooding and possible mudslides” was expected to hit the province on Wednesday and continue on Thursday.