6-month-old baby among dead in Durban floods

The death toll from the flooding has risen to 33, with reports of children missing and scores of people displaced.

A house in Amanzimtoti, Durban, suffered structural damage after a collapse due to heavy rain on 23 April 2019. Picture: @ER24EMS/Twitter

DURBAN - Among those killed in floods and mudslides that crushed homes in Durban on Tuesday were a six-month-old baby and a child aged around 10, authorities said.

The death toll has risen to 33, with reports of children missing and scores of people displaced.

"Heavy rains have since claimed 33 lives so far," Nomusa Dube-Ncube, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs said in a statement.

She added that 10 children were missing in Durban and 42 people had been injured.

An AFP photographer saw two of the nine bodies - including that of a small child - being pulled out of a house belonging to a school caretaker in Westcliff, on the outskirts of Durban.

The victims were buried under a wall that had collapsed on them while they were sleeping.

At least 145 people have been displaced, the government said.

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A Hindu temple in the city was entirely flooded with water levels of up to 10 metres, the photographer reported.

Heavy rains have lashed the country in recent days, with the southern and eastern parts of the country badly hit since the start of Easter weekend.

"Last night the weather conditions worsened significantly," Dube-Ncube said.

Government said dozens of incidents of collapsed walls and flooded homes were reported throughout the night, as roads were also flooded.

Those killed were either crushed to death by mudslides or drowned in flood waters, Rescue Care spokesperson Garrith Jamieson told AFP.

Search and rescue operations have combed the debris for those who might be trapped underneath.

In addition to collapsed buildings and flooded roads, sewer lines were blocked and electricity pylons had toppled over.

Military personnel have been dispatched to help rescue and evacuation efforts.

Government, political and religious groups were on Tuesday handing out food parcels to the affected people.

The South African Weather Service said rainy weather would persist in the flood-ravaged province into Wednesday.

The weather service's Wayne Venter said the rain would begin to subside in Durban from Wednesday.

“For the remainder of this evening, we’re not expecting much rain, with some clearance taking place. Things clear up nicely tomorrow, so we’re not expecting much [rain], however, by tomorrow afternoon we have a 60% chance of rain coming in.”