Mudslides, floods hit South Africa, 33 killed, 10 children missing
The death toll from floods and mudslides that crushed homes in the South African port of Durban yesterday has risen to 33, with reports of children missing and scores of people displaced, authorities said. "Heavy rains have since claimed 33 lives so far," Nomusa Dube-Ncube, a KwaZulu-Natal provincial minister said in a statement. She said that around 10 children are missing in Durban.
Among those killed were a six-month-old baby and a child aged around 10. Dube-Ncube confirmed that 10 children are missing in Durban and 42 people have been injured. An AFP photographer saw two of the nine bodies, including that of a small child, being pulled out of a house belonging to a school caretaker in Westcliff, a working-class suburb on outskirts of Durban.
The victims at the house were buried under a wall that had collapsed on them while they were sleeping. A Hindu temple in the city was entirely flooded with water levels of up to 10 meters, the photographer further reported.
At least 145 have been displaced, the government said. Heavy rains have lashed South Africa in recent days, with the southern and eastern parts of the country badly hit since the start of Easter weekend. "Last night weather conditions worsened significantly," Dube-Ncube said. Government said dozens of incidents of collapsed walls and flooded homes were reported throughout the night, as roads were also flooded.
Speaking to the media, Rescue Care spokesman Garrith Jamieson said that those killed were either crushed to death by mudslides or drowned in flood waters. Search and rescue operations have combed the debris for those who might be trapped underneath.
Sewer lines were blocked and electricity pylons had toppled over in that area. South African military personnel have been dispatched to help rescue and evacuation efforts. Government, political and religious groups were yesterday handing out food parcels to the victims. The SA Weather Services warned that more heavy rain and gale force winds were expected until today, which could threaten low-lying bridges and roads.