UPDATE | KZN floods death toll rises to 306: Darkest moments in history of province, says MEC Sipho Hlomuka

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Informal settlement between M19 and Quarry road on April 12, 2022 in Durban, South Africa. Persistent heavy rain in parts of KwaZulu-Natal has resulted in widespread flooding, collapsing roads and death.
Informal settlement between M19 and Quarry road on April 12, 2022 in Durban, South Africa. Persistent heavy rain in parts of KwaZulu-Natal has resulted in widespread flooding, collapsing roads and death.
(Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)
  • The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has confirmed 306 people have died as a result of heavy rains and flooding across the province.
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka says hundreds of people have been left homeless with many roads, public infrastructure, and homes severely damaged.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala visited various families affected by the heavy rains, offering government support.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs confirmed on Wednesday evening 306 people died as a result of heavy downpours and flooding across the province.

Earlier on Wednesday, the death toll stood at 259.

"The loss of human life as a result of the inclement weather conditions is one of the darkest moments in the history of our province.

"Hundreds of people have been left homeless with many roads, public infrastructure, and homes severely damaged," Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka said earlier.

Members of the KZN provincial executive committee will continue to visit affected areas to lead the rollout of relief to communities in need.

"Municipal services like electricity, water, and refuse removal have already resumed in some areas," said Hlomuka, adding mop-up operations have commenced.

"The provincial government continues to work with the national government to ensure that relief is provided to all those that have been affected by the storms.

"We wish to commend disaster management teams for the tireless work they have been doing to evacuate affected communities. Relief is being provided to residents housed in community halls across the province through collaboration with social partners and government departments," he added.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala visited various families affected by the heavy rains on Wednesday.  

Ramaphosa promised government support, which included funeral arrangements and shelter for those who lost their homes as well as food and blankets.

"The visit gives many of the affected communities hope as they deal with the trauma of losing loved ones and their homes in the incidents that occurred as a result of the heavy rains that struck large parts of Durban.

"We join the families in mourning the lives that we have lost as a result of the heavy rains," Hlomuka said.

On Wednesday, the South African Weather Service warned localised rainfall, heavy at times, could be expected over KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.

Hlomuka said more rain would cause damage to the "already saturated ground".

"Residents are urged to seek alternative accommodation or use community halls. It is important that we pull together, as a province, in the face of such adversity.

"Residents are urged to be patient as teams in many municipalities affected by the flooding are stretched to capacity."

He added the teams would visit affected communities in the uThukela District Municipality to assess the damages and assist in the rollout of relief to affected communities.

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