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Hundreds displaced in new South Africa floods

FILE - A man is assisted to climb off a truck that was washed off a road by flash floods...   -  
Copyright © africanews
TONY KARUMBA/AFP or licensors

South Africa

South Africa has again witnessed heavy weather on the east coast displacing hundreds of people, authorities announced on Sunday.

The country’s coastal city of Durban capital of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province is yet to recover from a deadly flood, which claimed the lives of at least 435 and left 54 people missing.

No casualties have so far been reported in the latest case, but there has been widespread destruction, mainly in the metropolitan area of Durban.

"As more information comes in, a disturbing picture emerges," KZN Chief Minister Sihle Zikalala told a news conference.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster for last month's floods which have been declared the worst disaster ever recorded in the country.

The worst natural disaster ever recorded in the country resulted in massive damage estimated at several hundred million euros.

Repairs were underway but the new floods have again affected infrastructure, with roads cut off, bridges and buildings damaged. "Some areas are inaccessible and have become islands," Zikalala said.

Near Umdloti beach, in the north of the city, parts of the road collapsed, leaving a gaping hole and cars dangling with one wheel in the air, an AFP reporter saw.

Kevin Govender, who lived in a nearby building, told AFP of water and mud rising up to the second floor: "The flooding started on Saturday afternoon. But the road collapsed and we couldn't get out" until help arrived on Sunday.

Nearly 250 people had been preventively evacuated during the night. These operations and rescues continued on Sunday, with rescue workers receiving an increasing number of calls. Some residents are without power.

Some 82 reception centres have been opened. Police, fire brigades and rescue teams are being mobilised. The army has been called in to assist.

Informal settlements in flood-prone areas near rivers, which were particularly affected in previous floods, have been placed under surveillance.

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