South Africa floods: Death toll after Durban rains rises to 60

The rains have led to landslides destroying property and roads
The rains have led to landslides destroying property and roads

Floods and mudslides in the South African city of Durban and the wider KwaZulu-Natal province have killed at least 60 people, officials say.

A six-month-old baby and a young child are among the dead.

More than 1,000 people have been displaced according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who has flown into the region to visit the affected areas.

Southern and eastern parts of the country have been badly hit by torrential rain in the last few days.

More flooding and strong winds are expected in coastal areas and a severe weather warning is still in place.

The raging floods damaged businesses, homes and at least two universities – while hundreds of people have been displaced.

People consoling each other
People have been consoling each other as they look at the damage caused

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has been visiting those who lost family members in the floods.

The BBC’s Nomsa Maseko reports that the president laid a wreath at a place where seven died. He was also seen pushing away his bodyguards who tried to block people from talking to him.

President Ramaphosa laying a wreath
President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the country to pull together in the wake of the disaster

“It was important to come and see what has happened. We pass our condolences to the families of those who have died in this disaster. We are saddened by what has happened here. The loss of life is never easy, especially when so unexpected,” he said on the ground.

Earlier on Wednesday, he released a statement where he said: “This situation calls on all of us to pull together as a country to reach out to affected communities.”

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‘We couldn’t save the children’

South Africa floods: Death toll after Durban rains rises to 60
South Africa floods: Father ‘could hear children screaming’

One man, who lost eight of his family members when a mudslide swallowed their home, has spoken to Nomsa Maseko about the moments leading up to the tragedy.

Thamsanqa Dlamini said that he heard a loud bang first before water came “gushing” into their house through the walls.

“I heard my children screaming from the bedroom,” he recalled.

“I tried to rush to help them but the strong water current forcefully pushed me into another room and I was under the collapsed wall.

“I remember hearing the screams of the children, neighbours tried to get us out but we couldn’t save the children.”

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Meanwhile, provincial minister Nomusa Dube-Ncube told SAFM radio that officials are continuing to assess the damage, according to news agency AFP.

In the long term people may have to be moved from the affected areas, she added.

Dozens of people have been taken to hospital and search and rescue teams are looking for more survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

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