Death toll due to KwaZulu-Natal’s devastating floods hits 253

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday in the wake of the devastating floods that have so far claimed at least 253 lives and displaced countless residents, while laying waste to roads and bridges.

Screengrab of video of flood damage in Ntuzuma, north of Durban, @_NMabaso

DURBAN – The death toll of KwaZulu-Natal’s devastating floods has rocketed to 253.

KwaZulu-Natal authorities are counting the costs while homes, businesses, roads, bridges as well as electricity and water infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed.

The province has been declared a disaster area.

The KwaZulu-Natal government's spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said that mop-up operations would continue.

“More mop-up operations will continue and the N2 and N3 will be closed,” Mabaso said.

Earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the dire situation in KwaZulu-Natal was the worst that the province had ever experienced.

"We see such tragedies hitting other countries like Mozambique, Zimbabwe, but now we are the affected ones," the president said during this visit to the province on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa has made his first stop in Claremont, west of Durban after being briefed on the devastating floods that have claimed at least 59 lives and displaced countless residents, while laying waste to roads and bridges.

He said that he had to travel to the province to see for himself the gravity of the situation.

Emergency teams have been rushing from one scene to the next to rescue residents from rising water in eThekwini and its surrounds.

KwaZulu-Natal has been declared a disaster area and the move should free up money for relief and rescue operations.

Many people were unaccounted for on Wednesday morning and over 100 schools have been closed.

Added to the anxiety, the weather service is forecasting more heavy rain over parts of the province from Friday onwards.