Sam Mpofu

More than 50 dead in South Africa after heavy rains, as another cyclone heads for Mozambique

Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa when a wall at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni, collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds. Things got worse on Monday as heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides, authorities said on Wednesday.

Southern Africa has been hit by extreme weather conditions in recent times, with Cyclone Idai wreaking havoc in three countries in the region and another expected to make a landfall near Mienguleia in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique on Thursday, April 25, 2019, accompanied by torrential rains.

Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department stated that KwaZulu-Natal has been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of Monday’s downpour.

“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said. According to him, some people were even swept away by the water.

KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman Robert McKenzie also revealed that structures collapsed in the mudslides, while state broadcaster SABC reported that flooding also killed at least three people in the Eastern Cape province.

Parts of the province are also experiencing power failures as a result of the extreme weather.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director-General Phumla Williams said government is encouraged by the concerted efforts by the affected communities, who came together during the crisis to help those in need.

“South Africans are resilient and strong. During a crisis, we support each other and work together to bring back normality to communities.

“These tragic incidents have also been marked by acts of courage and kindness that make us proud to be called South Africans,” Williams said.

Displaced communities will be temporarily accommodated in community halls, where they will receive emergency relief assistance, while relatives of people who passed away during the flash floods that swept through Durban on Monday night and Tuesday to come forward and identify their bodies.