Around 70 people have been killed in devastating floods in South Africa, an official said on Thursday, while 1,000 people have been forced from their homes.
Heavy rains have lashed the southeast of the country, tearing down homes and ravaging infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Eastern Cape provinces.
The acting leader of KZN province, which includes port city Durban, Sihle Zikalala said "we are worried and quite devastated by the increase of the number of fatalities."
"It is the first time in KZN that we experience such a loss of people, that we lose people in such a great number."
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the deluged province on Wednesday and pledged government funds to help those affected by the extreme weather.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped."
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbour, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Multiple dwellings and houses collapsed in the mudslides, said KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman Robert McKenzie.
Some major roads in and around the port city of Durban were closed on Wednesday, local media reported.
Flooding also killed at least three people in the Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said on Wednesday.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.
TRT World's Craig Vermay reports.