Flood-ravaged KZN declared a disaster area as rescue efforts continue

The City of eThekwini and surrounding areas have been lashed by heavy rains that have washed away bridges and rendered some roads unusable. At least 59 people have lost their lives in the disaster but many are still missing.

A general view of a severely damaged home and a crack in the road following heavy rains and winds in Durban, on 12 April 2022. Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Dangerous lifesaving efforts are underway across KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday morning and communities are stepping up to help neigbours with food, shelter and other support.

The City of eThekwini and surrounding areas have been lashed by heavy rains that have washed away bridges and rendered some roads unusable.

At least 59 people have lost their lives in the disaster but many are still missing.

KwaZulu-Natal government spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said that the province had now been declared a disaster area, which would help free up funding for rescue operations.

"It's devastating. We're seeing a very tragic situation where people are being recovered, others were washed away, others had houses that collapsed on them," Mabaso said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to visit some of the hot spot areas on Wednesday to see the devastation on the ground first-hand.

Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale: "As the president prepares for this visit, his thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones, people who have been injured and individuals, businesses and organisations that have lost property."

WATCH: KZN residents in flood-hit areas urged to put their safety first

The weather service says that the rainfall will subside a bit over the next few days but the Easter long weekend will see some heavy rainfall over KwaZulu-Natal again.

Forecaster Lulama Pheme: "Over the next coming days, it will be on the 15th, we will have scattered showers and thundershowers and it is going to be cold from the southeastern side. It's the same for the 16th, we're looking at a 60% chance of rain and then subsiding on Sunday and Monday."

At the same time, Eskom has taken a decision not to cut power to eThekwini residents.

Spokesperson Sikhonathi Manthantsha: "Eskom is continuously engaging with authorities in the region and we will take the appropriate actions as required and at this point, it is not possible to load shed eThekwini municipality."

For the rest of South Africa, the rolling power cuts are expected to resume continuously until Friday morning.

This is due to more generating units failing overnight.