Death toll reaches 443 amid flooding, mudslides in South Africa

Stranded people stand in front of a bridge that was swept away in Ntuzuma, outside Durban, South Africa, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (Associated Press)

South African authorities said on Sunday that at least 443 people have now died due to the flooding and mudslides that followed heavy storms in the KwaZulu-Natal province. 

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said at a news conference Sunday that 63 residents are still unaccounted for, calling the disaster among the worst the province has ever seen.

“We sympathize with all those who lost their relatives and friends in the floods that attacked KwaZulu-Natal,” Zikalala said in a Facebook post over the weekend. “As a government we will do everything we can to help our communities that have lost relatives and friends.”

Reuters reported that South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has delayed an official visit to Saudi Arabia to focus on the natural disaster, noting that he plans to meet with cabinet members to assess the damages. 

The storms and flooding has left thousands of residents homeless, knocked out power and water services, and delayed operations at Durban, the country’s busiest port.

KwaZulu-Natal residents told Reuters about still being terrified of the thought of more rain falling on the region, and said they are losing hope of finding relatives in the aftermath of the disaster. 

Africa’s southeastern coast is expected to be hit hard by climate change, with more extreme storms and flooding expected in the decades ahead.

Tags Cyril Ramaphosa Cyril Ramaphosa Cyril Ramaphosa flooding KwaZulu-Natal Natural disasters Sihle Zikalala South Africa South Africa South Africa

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