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Umlazi toddler swept away by floods, 5 confirmed dead

It’s understood the crèche was flooded as a result of Tuesday's massive thunderstorms.

The Umlazi area has also been affected by the storm in KwaZulu-Natal on 10 October 2017. Picture: @prosperityngubo.

JOHANNESBURG - Durban emergency services have confirmed that a toddler from a crèche in Umlazi has been swept away by floods in KwaZulu-Natal.

It’s understood the crèche was flooded as a result of Tuesday's massive thunderstorms.

The heavy downpours have claimed at least three lives, damaged five state hospitals and have flooded countless homes and buildings in the province.

Among the victims is a child who was struck by lighting and a man who was crushed by shipping containers that fell on top of a car.

ER24's Ineke van Huyssteen says the search for the child has been postponed for now.

“It is believed that a crèche was filled with water, some of the locals tried to assist and three out of the four kids were taken to safety. It is believed that one of the children was swept down into the river.”

The death toll from Tuesday's heavy rains has risen to at least three.

Among those killed are an eight-year-girl who was struck by lightning and a motorist who was crushed by a shipping container.

GALLERY: Floods, fatalities & damaged buildings as storm hits KZN

BOY DROWNS

KwaZulu-Natal emergency services have confirmed that a 12-year-old boy has drowned while trying to cross a stream in the area of Izingolweni, 40 kilometres from Port Shepstone.

Paramedics say the boy’s body has been recovered and his family has been notified.

EMS spokesperson Robert McKenzie said: “This happened earlier this afternoon and including this one, it is five fatalities that have occurred.”

‘STAY INDOORS’

As major routes in KwaZulu-Natal are reopened after the deadly storms, officials urge people to stay indoors.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has called on KZN residents to carefully consider the accuracy of the content they're uploading to social media.

Cooperative Governance has called on all residents to avoid circulating old images of flash floods and it continues to urge people to remain indoors on Tuesday afternoon as the storm moves through the northern parts of the province.

It also says a message circulating on social media about a bridge collapse on the M41 are untrue.

Spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said: “We have been in touch with the engineer that has was responsible for the construction of the bridge near Gateway Shopping Mall in Durban. The pictures which we saw being circulated of the bridge about to collapse are nothing other than a hoax.”

Spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa has cautioned against spreading old flood pictures.

“I would ask that we just take extra care about forwarding unverified information which might cause panic.”

The rain has now subsided and the N2 highway, which was severely affected earlier, is now beginning to clear up with traffic once again flowing.

Cooperative Governance in the province also says disaster teams are continuing their efforts to clear roads and evacuate residents.

Mabaso said: “We are continuing with emergency rescues where necessary."

At the same time, major rescue operations continue along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline.

The National Sea Rescue Institute has confirmed that due to the strong winds and heavy rains, many yachts and boats have been washed up on the shoreline at various harbours.

Sea rescue spokesperson Craig Lambinon said: “The NSRI teams are assisting emergency services in the Durban area. It’s a massive deployment of emergency services.”

Follow EWN's Live Blog for the latest on the storm.

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