Dozens still missing two months after South Africa’s worst floods killed hundreds
- The death toll has climbed to 461, with 87 people still unaccounted for, southeastern KwaZulu-Natal provincial government premier Sihle Zikalala said
- The April deluge triggered the worst mudslides seen in the country, sweeping away people, buildings, bridges and roads
Nearly 90 people are still missing two months after the worst floods in living memory swept through South Africa’s third largest city of Durban and surrounding areas, killing hundreds, a government spokesman said on Sunday.
The death toll from the raging floods and landslides has climbed to 461, with 87 people still unaccounted for, southeastern KwaZulu-Natal provincial government premier Sihle Zikalala told journalists.
“The floods affected 85,280 people with 461 fatalities. A total of 87 people are still reported missing,” Zikalala said in media briefing marking two months after the floods raged across the province.
The April torrential downpours, blamed on extreme weather triggered by climate change, caught the country by surprise as it is traditionally untouched by storms which regularly hit its neighbours, such as Mozambique.
More than 300mm of rain fell within a 24-hour period in some parts of the province – nearly a third of Durban’s annual rainfall- smashing a nearly three-decade record.
The deluge triggered the worst mudslides seen in the country, sweeping away people, buildings, bridges and roads.
“By all accounts the KwaZulu-Natal floods have been described correctly as the most devastating floods in our history thus far,” said Zikalala.
He said more than 27,000 houses were affected with 8,584 of them destroyed.
The floods struck the region less than a year after deadly riots that killed more than 350 people, most of them in Durban, a port city of more than 3.9 million people.