The death toll from floods that have battered South Africa’s east coast has risen to 443, including a rescuer, a regional official said on Sunday, as dozens more are still missing.
Devastating floods hit South Africa’s eastern coast of KwaZulu Natal have left thousands homeless, knocked out power and water services and disrupted operations at one of Africa’s busiest ports, Durban. A provincial economic official estimated the overall infrastructure damage at more than 10 billion rand ($684.6 million).
The death toll now stands at 443,” Sihle Zikalala, the premier of the KwaZulu-Natal province told a media briefing, adding 63 other people are still unaccounted for.
A member of the rescue and recovery team “experienced difficult breathing and was airlifted to… hospital. Unfortunately he passed away”.
Rains were starting to let up in the flood-ravaged east, allowing for search and relief aid operations to continue after one of the deadliest storms in living memory.
Pesident Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said late on Saturday he had delayed a working visit to Saudi Arabia to focus on the disaster. Ramaphosa will meet cabinet ministers to assess the response to the crisis.
Primier Zikalala said the “inclement weather has slowed our assessment and rescue operation on the ground, but we are once again back in the full swing”.