KwaZulu-Natal’s acting premier Sihle Zikalala confirmed in a media briefing on Thursday that around 70 people have died so far due to flooding in the province, which has left over 1000 people homeless. “We are worried and quite devastated by the increase of the number of fatalities,” he said.
“It is the first time in KZN that we experience such a loss of people, that we lose people in such a great number.”
Heavy rains have hit the southwest of South Africa this week, affecting people and infrastructure across KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Emergency responders reported collapsed buildings and flooded roads, blocked sewer lines and toppled electricity pylons.
After visiting KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged government funds to help those who have been affected by the extreme weather.
“All this just fell… We only have two survivors, one of them is my son and the other friend,” said Ntombi Ztombi Zama, whose sister was killed in a landslide at a property in Chatsworth, south of Durban.
“When I came and see everything demolished it just broke me. It was bad.”
South African military personnel have been dispatched to help rescue and evacuation efforts. The South African Weather Service has warned that more heavy rain and gale force winds are on the way.