8 people die in MP floods, CoGTA warns toll could rise as heavy rains continue

The persistent rain has caused damage and flooding since tropical storm Eloise spilled over to South Africa from Mozambique. Five people are still missing.

A Mpumalanga Health Department ambulance. Picture: @MpuHealth1/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – As heavy rains continue to wreak havoc in different parts of Mpumalanga, the cooperative governance (CoGTA) department has said it fears the death toll due to the floods may rise.

The persistent rain has caused damage and flooding since tropical storm Eloise spilled over to South Africa from Mozambique.

Areas including Mbombela, Bushbuckridge, and Nkomazi were severely affected.

At least eight people died due to the heavy rains on Saturday, and CoGTA spokesperson George Mthethwa said they fear the number of fatalities could rise.

“We have eight certified fatalities which occurred as a result of drowning in our rivers. We must say some have been horrendous. For example, in one incident, we had a mother who was trying to cross a local river while carrying a baby on her back. Unfortunately, she could not survive. We still have five missing persons, those who have drowned in the local rivers.”

About two weeks ago Mpumalanga authorities reported that a five-year-old boy died after he was swept by floods.

While in KwaZulu-Natal, a 14-year-old also died after drowning during heavy rainfall.

At the same time, the South African Weather Service has issued a yellow moderate level two warning as more persistent rainfall was expected in Gauteng this week.

The Joburg Emergency Service has urged residents and motorists to be cautious as flooding was expected in some areas.

Spokesperson Nana Radebe said: “The City of Johannesburg Emergency Services would like to urge motorists to drive carefully; keep a safe distance and make sure you don’t drive on flooded roads. We would also be checking low lying areas around Alexandra and Diepsloot.”

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.