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At Least 70 Dead

Dean James at Right Wing Tribune

Seventy people have died in floods and mudslides that ravaged parts of the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa’s southeast, according to local authorities.

Acting KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said in a press briefing Thursday morning that the death toll had risen from the previously reported 51.
“We are devasted by the increased numbers of fatalities,” Zikalala said.
“It was the first time in KwaZulu-Natal where we lost people in this great number.”
The flooding began on Monday after heavy rain caused mudslides in several towns in Durban, the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, government spokesman Lennox Mabaso told CNN.
“The areas most affected are Amanzimtoti, Chatsworth, Mariannhill,” Mabaso, who works for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department, said.
Mabaso said there were reported incidents of collapsed buildings, walls and flooded homes in the area.

The number of deaths may continue to rise as rescue crews work to dig through debris from mudslides and floodwaters continue to surge through the area, AccuWeather reported.

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More than 2,000 emergency calls have been placed since Monday night, and numerous power outages have been reported.

The combination of flooding and rough seas has also caused extensive beach damage.

The South African Weather Service has warned there could be more rains in the coming days.
“We have been told there is 50 percent chance of more rain,” he said.
Makeshift shelters and food are being provided for those displaced from their homes in the aftermath of the flooding.
State-owned broadcaster SABC puts the number of those displaced at over 1000.
“We are assisting them to cope with this tragedy through counseling and other forms of support like helping to identify their relatives that have passed on,” he said.
We send our thoughts and prayers to these poor people.
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