Johannesburg : Fifteen people, including at least eight children, were burnt to death when a fire broke out at an orphanage in South Africa Tuesday, officials said.
Another nine children were hospitalized following the fire at the Hope in Christ Home, near Newcastle, in southeastern KwaZulu-Natal province, the provincial department of social development was quoted by the South African Press Association (SAPA) as saying.
The cause of the early-morning fire, and the exact number of people in the orphanage at the time, was unknown. Rescue workers found 15 badly-burnt bodies at the site.
Among the dead was the woman in charge of the orphanage and her four children, the SAPA report said.
A provincial spokesman said the orphanage was run by the department of social development.
Around 2.5 million South African children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents to various causes, according to UN children’s agency UNICEF.
More than half, 1.4 million, are estimated to have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.