The death toll from a devastating storm that hit parts of KwaZulu-Natal province on Monday night and carried into Tuesday morning has reached 51, the cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) department said.
“Our figures now are standing at 51,” Cogta member of the executive council Nomusa Dube-Ncube told journalists in Durban on Wednesday morning, before moving out in convoy to survey some of the particularly badly stricken areas.
President Cyril Ramaphosa landed in the province earlier and was due to join the convoy. He would also visit the Eastern Cape province, where flooding had taken place.
Dube-Ncube said the president had cut short his attendance of an African Union meeting in Egypt to visit affected areas and offer support.
“Arrived back home and flew to KwaZulu-Natal to assess the damage caused by the floods and review the recovery efforts,” Ramaphosa posted on his Twitter account. “Our thoughts are with the affected communities in KZN and Eastern Cape. I urge those living in the affected areas to take extra caution in this period.”
Chatsworth, Malvern and Umlazi, south of Durban, were particularly badly affected. The south coast was also hit by secondary rain.
Seven people died in Malvern when their house collapsed after a mudslide.
In Chatsworth, eight people died when a house on a school field – shared by three families – was hit by a mudslide.
Shacks and low cost housing in the Umlazi area collapsed, some with children inside.
Hundreds of residents throughout the eThekwini area had to be accommodated in tents and community halls until alternative arrangements could be made.
Dube-Ncube said over 2000 emergency calls were received on Monday night, adding that so far, the area had experienced over 300 mm of rain.
-ANA editing by Stella Mapenzauswa