South Africa's Cape Town is Hit by More Storms, with 4,500 People Displaced by Floods and Damage

Representation photo: A drone view shows rain clouds approaching a damaged residence in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl in Surfside Beach, Texas, US, July 9, 2024. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Representation photo: A drone view shows rain clouds approaching a damaged residence in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl in Surfside Beach, Texas, US, July 9, 2024. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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South Africa's Cape Town is Hit by More Storms, with 4,500 People Displaced by Floods and Damage

Representation photo: A drone view shows rain clouds approaching a damaged residence in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl in Surfside Beach, Texas, US, July 9, 2024. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Representation photo: A drone view shows rain clouds approaching a damaged residence in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl in Surfside Beach, Texas, US, July 9, 2024. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The South African city of Cape Town and surrounding areas were hit by more storms Thursday that ripped roofs off houses and caused widespread flooding, forcing at least 4,500 people out of their homes and damaging at least 15,000 structures, authorities said. The devastating weather began a week ago.
Multiple cold fronts have battered the region on the southwest tip of Africa since late last week, bringing record rainfall in some parts and gale-force winds. City authorities said the bad weather was expected to continue until the weekend and possibly into next week, The Associated Press said.
The Wynberg neighborhood of Cape Town was littered with damage Thursday morning after the latest front hit overnight. The strong winds blew off roofs, destroyed parts of houses and other buildings, and brought down electricity poles.
The City of Cape Town said its Disaster Operations Center worked through the night to respond to calls for help from residents.
At least 4,500 people were displaced and 15,000 structures damaged in and around Cape Town and the wider Western Cape province before the latest storm Wednesday night and those figures were expected to rise.
JP Smith, the Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the city and non-governmental organizations had already provided more than 36,000 meals and distributed 6,000 blankets to affected people in the last two days.
Many people left homeless were in the impoverished informal settlements on the outskirts of Cape Town, where metal and wooden shacks are especially vulnerable to strong wind and flooding.
Schools were closed in Cape Town and other nearby areas, including the renowned wine-growing region of Stellenbosch, where snow lined the streets earlier in the week in a highly unusual occurrence as a result of the extreme cold fronts coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.
Three major rivers in the province had burst their banks, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said.
The provincial disaster management services had ordered evacuations of some people in the agricultural area of Citrusdal and parts of the wine-growing region around Stellenbosch, which is around 30 miles (48 kilometers) inland from Cape Town, because of flooding.
Authorities were considering the controlled release of water from some dams as a “precautionary measure” to prevent them from overflowing and causing more damage, the provincial government said.
Cape Town and other parts of the southwest coast of South Africa are often affected by cold fronts in the winter months in the middle of the year which bring heavy rain and strong winds. But it's unusual for multiple fronts to hit in a short space of time.



Man Who Attacked Author Salman Rushdie Charged with Supporting Hezbollah

Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)
Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)
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Man Who Attacked Author Salman Rushdie Charged with Supporting Hezbollah

Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)
Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)

A man who severely injured author Salman Rushdie in a frenzied knife attack in western New York faces a new charge that he supported a terrorist group.

An indictment unsealed in US District Court in Buffalo on Wednesday charges Hadi Matar with providing material support to Hezbollah, the armed group based in Lebanon and backed by Iran. The indictment didn't detail what evidence linked Matar to the group.

The federal charge comes after Matar earlier this month rejected an offer by state prosecutors to recommend a shorter prison sentence if he agreed to plead guilty in Chautauqua County Court, where he is charged with attempted murder and assault. The agreement also would have required him to plead guilty to a federal terrorism-related charge, which hadn't been filed yet at the time.

Instead, both cases will now proceed to trial separately. Jury selection in the state case is set for Oct. 15.

Matar's lawyer, Nathaniel Barone, didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Matar, 26, has been held without bail since the 2022 attack, during which he stabbed Rushdie more than a dozen times as the acclaimed writer was onstage about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution. Knife wounds blinded Rushdie in one eye. The event moderator, Henry Reese, was also wounded.

Rushdie detailed the attack and his long and painful recovery in a memoir published in April.

The author spent years in hiding after Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa, or edict, in 1989 calling for Rushdie's death over his novel “The Satanic Verses.” Khomeini considered the book blasphemous. Rushdie reemerged into the public the late 1990s.

Matar was born in the US but holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, where his parents were born. He lived in New Jersey prior to the attack. His mother has said that her son became withdrawn and moody after he visited his father in Lebanon in 2018.

The attack raised questions about whether Rushdie had gotten proper security protection, given that he is still the subject of death threats. A state police trooper and county sheriff's deputy had been assigned to the lecture.

In 1991, a Japanese translator of “The Satanic Verses” was stabbed to death. An Italian translator survived a knife attack the same year. In 1993, the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot three times but survived.

The investigation into Rushdie's stabbing focused partly on whether Matar had been acting alone or in concert with militant or religious groups.