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South Africa floods kill seven, 11 missing

By AFP - Dec 27,2023 - Last updated at Dec 27,2023

A flooded road is covered in mud after a landslide triggered by a storm in the village of Volcan (AFP photo)

JOHANNESBURG — Rescue teams battled in torrential rain on Tuesday to find victims of flash floods across a South African province that left at least seven dead and 11 missing, officials said.

A muddy deluge up to 10 metres deep swept through a district of Ladysmith, in KwaZulu Natal province, destroying homes and carrying away cars, rescuers said.

Six people were confirmed dead and 10 missing, provincial authorities said.

Further south, an overflowing river at Mandeni carried away three people. One eight-year-old boy was confirmed dead and one man was missing, the IPSS rescue organisation said.

Rainstorms held up the search for bodies in Ladysmith, 230 kilometres  northwest of Durban, where the torrent hit late Sunday.

Tereza van den Berg, a team leader for IPSS, said that the torrent “in places 10 metres deep” tore through a caravan park and carried away vehicles crossing a bridge.

“Nobody had a chance to grab anything,” she said. Some of the cars were found three kilometres downstream.

Three bodies were found in a minibus carrying nine passengers. The other six are still missing.

One body was found in a house that was completely destroyed while two other people who were also inside are still unaccounted for.

At least two other people were killed after becoming trapped in their cars by the floods that swept off the Bellspruit River.

More severe storms were predicted across the province on Tuesday.

KwaZulu Natal has been hit by worsening floods and weather disasters amidst the global rise in temperatures.

More than 450 people died in floods and landslides after a fierce storm hit Durban, the province’s main city, in April 2022.

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