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Eight killed as storm lashes drought-hit Cape Town

At least eight people have been killed in a storm that swept into the Cape Town area of South Africa.

The victims included four people who died in a fire caused by lightning and one who was killed when a house collapsed.

Local media outlet Jacaranda FM attributed the death toll of eight to James-Brent Styan, a provincial official.

Cape Town workers said they had taken measures to protect some poor residents, who live in sprawling neighbourhoods of makeshift homes. However, hundreds of homes were flooded or damaged.

The storm forced President Jacob Zuma, who was in Cape Town, to cancel a speech to an international media conference in Durban, a city on the Indian Ocean coastline.

The South African military said it had placed a helicopter on standby to help with any emergency evacuations in Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town.

While the storm provided some relief from the recent severe drought, officials said sustained rainfall over a long period is needed in help fill reservoirs currently at low levels.

Cape Town recently announced restrictions on water use. On Wednesday, authorities urged residents to capture rain from the storm in containers for flushing toilets and other needs.

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