Updated: 4/26/2019 11:36:58 AM
Seventy people have died in floods that ravaged parts of the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa's southeast, local authorities said. Acting KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said in a press briefing Thursday morning that the death toll had risen from the previously reported 51. "We are devasted by the increased numbers of fatalities," Zikalala said. "It was the first time in KwaZulu-Natal where we lost people in this great number."
Published Thursday, April 25, 2019
The Durban floods have been relentless over the past 24 hours, but locals are still contending with the threat of the Umgeni River bursting its banks.
The water source has swelled to a worrying level, and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is already preparing for the worst in the municipality.
Spokesperson Craig Lambinon has revealed that emergency services are being deployed to evacuate townships which are situated on the river's edge.
He confirmed that the NSRI are on standby to help in any way they can. "Currently, meetings are being held with emergency services investigating swollen river banks and the informal settlements on the banks of the Umgeni River. These services are set to evacuate residents here and the NSRI remains prepared to help with any such instances."
The torrential rains have washed away homes and caused the destruction of several properties in the Malvern region. Sadly, four people were killed when their house collapsed overnight. Another person has been confirmed dead in Overport, but this may not be the end of the fatalities, as three other people remain trapped in collapsed structure.
Meanwhile, parts of the city have been left underwater, as torrents of gushing water have spread across low-lying areas of eThekwini.
The Durban floods have had a devastating effect on infrastructure, with entire roads and cliff-side properties falling away due to numerous mudslides.
The Umgeni River is now at a highly-dangerous level, and with weather warnings remaining in place until 16:00 on Tuesday, additional rain could tip things over the edge.
Authorities aren't likely to issue city-wide evacuation directives, but several communities were told to leave this morning and a few more settlements could follow.
South Africa Flood Facts
Affected Area: 1 km.
Alert Level: Green