Nearly rainless skies on Sunday seemed to offer some respite for South Africa, whose east coast was hit by floods that left 443 people dead, according to a new toll, with dozens still missing. 

Most of the victims were recorded in the region of Durban, a port city of 3.5 million inhabitants in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) open to the Indian Ocean and where heavy rains have been falling for a week causing floods and deadly landslides.

Rains that have dropped sharply

The rain was still falling in some places but insignificantly compared to the previous days.

"The risk of flooding is low in KwaZulu-Natal today," forecaster Puseletso Mofokeng of the National Institute of Meteorology told AFP.

"The precipitation will dissipate completely by Wednesday and through the end of next week."

In recent days, ministers and traditional leaders, Zulu King Misuzulu Zulu and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has postponed a trip abroad, have been on the ground to assess the extent of the damage and support the bereaved. 

Families have been decimated, losing several members in a matter of seconds.

Children and babies have died, drowned or buried in mudslides.

Emergency services always on alert

On this Easter Sunday, calls for prayer for the victims multiplied during religious gatherings.

“It is a tragedy of overwhelming proportions,” said Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and successor to Desmond Tutu, referring to “stress and pain” for the community. 

The emergency services are still on alert, but they receive fewer calls.

“The number of flood-related cases has gone down,” Robert McKenzie, who is part of the relief, told AFP. 

A team was in the morning in the suburb of Pinetown.

A house collapsed overnight.

“Fortunately, the flood waters have receded and some roads are cleared, which makes access easier,” explained the rescuer.

Nearly 340 social service representatives have been deployed to provide psychological support in the impacted areas.

Food vouchers, school uniforms and blankets continue to be distributed. 

Nearly 4,000 houses razed, more than 13,500 damaged

More than 250 schools have been affected.

Nearly 4,000 houses razed, more than 13,500 damaged.

Many hospitals, heavily used for the wounded, have been degraded. 

The authorities expect hundreds of millions of euros in damages.

The region had already experienced massive destruction in July during an unprecedented wave of riots and looting.

The poorest in the townships have been hit hard by the weather.

Houses made of sheets of corrugated iron or simple planks of wood, often built on unbuildable and flood-prone land, did not last long in the deluge. 

In some parts of the province, water and electricity have been cut since Monday.

Desperate residents were seen carrying buckets of water on carts by the side of the road.

The food is missing, what was left rotted.

Donations are collected across the country, especially in fire stations.

Pasta, preserves, covers.

Emergency government aid of 63 million euros (one billion rand) has been announced.


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