KZN floods death toll rises to 398, 27 still missing

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The death toll from the floods that have ravaged KwaZulu-Natal has risen to 398. In the statement, the provincial government said 27 more people are still missing.

In Umzinyathi near Inanda, north of Durban, community members whose family members are still missing have pinned their hopes on the search and rescue teams that are stationed at uMzinyathi river in search of more bodies.

The arrival of search and rescue teams at Umzinyathi has brought hope to the families of people who were washed away by floods in the area.

Earlier, the family of 10 people who were washed away by floods in Umzinyathi said they just wanted to find the bodies of their loved ones so that they find closure.

A 43-year-old Slindile Mdlalose as well as her four children and five grandchildren were sleeping in the house when mudslides and landslides occurred, washing down their house earlier this week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the family and promised that government will lend a helping hand.

A family member Thokozani Mdlalose says they will find closure only after the missing bodies have been recovered.

“All we want is search and rescue teams to help us. Already, we have admitted and made a conclusion that they are gone and nothing we can do. We just need to find closure.”

Another family member Sindisiwe Dlamini is optimistic that the arrival of the search and rescue team will help them get at least two of the family members that are still missing.

“The arrival of the search and rescue teams is giving us hope that the bodies of our loved ones will be found. For now, there is no lead about their whereabouts. We are calling on the rescue teams to bear with us and keep searching for our family members. We still have hope that they will be found. Even if we can find at least one or two bodies of the missing bodies we will be happy.”

A family of Sthembiso Maphumulo who was washed away when he was trying to cross Umzinyathi River says they will not rest until they find his body. Ntombenhle Zulu is her sister.

“We just want his body or at least the clothes that he was wearing. There are no leads. We are just searching the river. He has been missing since Monday.”

Communities of Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu search for the bodies of loved ones:

Umzinyathi community members who have taken an initiative to search for the missing bodies say they are still shocked by the incident. Mboneni Dlamini is one of them.

“We are mentally disturbed as we have been doing the work that we are not familiar with, recovering bodies of people who were washed away. We call on government to offer us counselling.”

Meanwhile, the uMdloti area on the north coast of Durban is still without water. This after heavy rains damaged water infrastructure leaving both residents and businesses without water.

The extent of the damage is severe that it will still take days before water is restored.

Salt and Light Foundation’s Kevin Singh says they have rolled their sleeves and brought over 300 bottles of five litres to residents of uMdloti.

“For today, it was 380 bottles of 5 litres each and we will be back again soon for the next batch and when this crisis hit one of the essentials we realised it is water and we decided to focus on bringing water and it is called KZN Water Drive where we linked up with our partners out of the province and locally to source as much water as possible. The devastation we have seen here in the much beautiful area of uMdloti has really broken our hearts on the north coast we will try and do our best I think the best is to look around you, every person can help one of us cannot do everything ourselves.”

There are fears that the death toll might increase as more people are still missing.

KZN Floods | Gift of the Givers involved in search and recovery mission: