At least 250 people have been killed in deadly floods that have caused havoc in the coastal areas South Africa‘s port city of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
Officials had earlier estimated that at least 59 people had died but the death toll has now jumped to over 250.
Nomagugu Simelane, KwaZulu-Natal’s health minister, told local news outlets that 253 people had died. Provincial officials say the number has since hit 259.
Shipping at South Africa’s busiest port had to be suspended due to the severe flooding which has destroyed roads, bridges and houses.
Rains that fell within three days had caused unexpected devastation with managers in charge of the Durban port announcing a closure until further notice.
Parts of a major highway – N3 which connects Durban to Gauteng has been blocked off.
Two major telecoms companies have reported more than 900 of their mobile phone towers were down.
What some initially thought to be a normal rainfall and lighter flooding has now turned the city of Durban into an epicentre of a natural disaster fast escalating to a humanitarian crisis.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had to cut short a trip to Mozambique to visit affected areas to assess the damage.
President @CyrilRamaphosa accompanied by provincial leadership as led by KZN Premier @SZiks engaging community members affected by the #KZNFloods. Government is offering support to affected communities around the province. pic.twitter.com/g3mGlPZIQF
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) April 13, 2022
The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) department of education has also shut schools affected by the floods until next week.
The province has been battered by torrential rain and floods since Sunday leaving many families displaced.