Gift of the Givers to distribute food parcels in flood-hit Durban

The heavy rains, which caused massive landslides, also left hundreds of people displaced while 10 others are still missing.

FILE: A man tries to salvage some of his furniture at an informal settlement of BottleBrush, south of Durban, after torrential rains and flash floods destroyed his home on 23 April 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Gift of the Givers will begin distributing food parcels and other goods in and around Durban this morning after this week's devastating floods which left at least 32 people dead.

The heavy rains, which caused massive landslides, also left hundreds of people displaced while 10 others are still missing.

Gift of the Givers' Imtaaz Sooliman said that they will spend the day giving what they have and assessing what's needed.

“We’ll start with the basic stuff; the blankets and it’s still raining and people were out in the open without shelter.

“So, they require blankets, they require mattresses, they require clothing, some hygiene items... we'll give them food packs and hot meals will be provided for them.”

Among those killed in the 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 Cooperative 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.

Some Durban residents who witnessed the deadly floods have recounted the panic and horror.

Nokhanyo Zungu from New Germany said that she was woken up in the early hours of on Tuesday by the loud screams of a woman whose house was literally falling apart.

“She lost her mind. She was traumatised. We tried to get into the bedroom, but the water was too high and the bodies of her two sons were inside.”

Mthandeni Zulu from Umlazi said that he saw a house crashing down with a seven-year-old boy inside.

“I’m shocked, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. I tried to help him, but he was too deep in the water... I failed.”

The KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance Department said that the MEC and other officials have been deployed around Durban to assist with search and rescue operations.

Mop-up operations are also expected to begin in earnest as communities try to salvage what’s left of their belongings and rebuild their lives.

IN PICTURES: Heavy rains, mudslides prompt evacuations in EC, KZN

KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape are the hardest hit provinces with families being displaced after their homes were hit by flash floods.

(Edited Leeto M Khoza)