Johannesburg – A mine dam burst and sparked flooding that swept away houses and cars in central South Africa, officials said on Sunday, forcing residents to be evacuated.
Television footage showed a river of mud and water flowing away from the mine and into a nearby residential area, covering roads and sweeping houses away, in Jagersfontein, a town about 100km (62 miles) southwest of the Free State province capital, Bloemfontein.
“The mine dam in the area burst this morning… around 6:00 am (0400 GMT),” Palesa Chubisi, a spokeswoman for Free State premier Sisi Ntombela, said in a statement.
Search and rescue efforts are underway to locate four people who are unaccounted for at the mining town of Jagersfontein where a humanitarian crisis is unfolding.
The mine dam has burst causing flooding. pic.twitter.com/LtMtP5k1mM
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“The incident has swept away houses and cars,” she said, but did not provide figures.
Chubisi added no fatalities had been reported so far, but 11 people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.
A disaster management team was at the scene to determine the extent of the damage, but the cause was not yet known.
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The provincial department of social development said it was assisting with the evacuation of those affected and coordinating relief efforts.
The flooding caused some houses to collapse “leading some members of the community to escape with only the clothes on their backs”, the department said in a statement.