Africa: South Africa – Several Dead After Rain Triggers Flash Floods

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A 10-meter (33 feet) deluge swept through a borough of Ladysmith in South Africa, destroying homes and cars. Rescuers are battling to find survivors as rainstorms continue.

Flash floods hit the vicinity of the city of Ladysmith in eastern South Africa, killing at least six and leaving some 11 more missing.

A deluge of up to 10 meters (33 feet) deep swept through a Ladysmith district in KwaZulu Natal province, rescuers said. It destroyed homes and cars.

The coastal town of Mandeni, further south of Ladysmith, was also hit by flooding, with the river carrying away three people.

The provincial government said the flood killed an 8-year-old child and an adult male as they attempted to cross a river on Christmas day, according to a report by South African Eyewitness News.

Some local media outlets put the death toll at seven.

What do we know about the floods?

The torrent hit late on Sunday, some 230 kilometers (140 miles) northwest of the eastern coastal city of Durban. Rescue teams were still battling the floods on Tuesday, hampered by the rainstorms.

“Nobody had a chance to grab anything,” said Tereza van den Berg, a team leader for the IPSS rescue organization.

The IPSS said some of the bodies recovered from the flash floods on Christmas eve were found inside cars swept away by the water, Eyewitness News reported.

How have the local authorities reacted?

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dube-Ncube sent her condolences to the families of those killed in the floods in a statement on social media.

She said the heavy rains “resulted in the Bellspuit river, which runs under the Mbonothu bridge, bursting its banks, causing water to overflow onto the N11 road near the Limit Hill robots, in Ladysmith Town.”

The KwaZulu Natal province has been hit by floods and weather disasters recently, amid the growing effect of climate change. Devastating floods hit Durban in April 2022, killing nearly 400.

AFP material contributed to this report

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