60 killed as floods devastate South Africa

DAILY SABAH WITH AFP
JOHANNESBURG
Published 24.04.2019 20:02
Updated 24.04.2019 20:07
A man tries to retrieve some of his furniture at an informal settlement of BottleBrush, south of Durban, after torrential rains and flash floods destroyed his home on April 23, 2019. (AFP Photo)
A man tries to retrieve some of his furniture at an informal settlement of BottleBrush, south of Durban, after torrential rains and flash floods destroyed his home on April 23, 2019. (AFP Photo)

Devastating floods in South Africa have left at least 60 dead and forced more than a thousand people from their homes, officials said Wednesday as President Cyril Ramaphosa flew to the deluged region.

Heavy rains have lashed the southeast of the country, tearing down homes and ravaging infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces.

Speaking to the affected Amanzimtoti community in Durban, after returning from emergency African Union talks in Egypt on the crises in Libya and Sudan, Ramaphosa said "there are more than 1,000 people who are now displaced."

Vehicles and debris scattered on side of a cliff in Durban. (Reuters)He raised concerns about Free State province north of KwaZulu-Natal, saying that continuing downpours there were causing "risky situations."

The government will set aside emergency funding to help survivors rebuild their lives, Ramaphosa vowed.

The government released an official death toll of 51 earlier on Wednesday, rising from 33 on Tuesday.

Rescuers on Wednesday continued to comb debris, desperately looking for people feared trapped by landslides.

Emergency responders reported collapsed buildings and flooded roads, blocked sewer lines and toppled electricity pylons.

For safety reasons, schools and some businesses were shut in the affected areas.

South African military personnel have been dispatched to help rescue and evacuation efforts.

The South African Weather Services warned that more heavy rain and gale force winds were expected, which could threaten low-lying bridges and roads.

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