At least 250 people were killed after Monday’s intensely heavy rainfall flooded South Africa’s eastern coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The floods that ravaged homes, swept away roads and displaced dozens was described by officials on Tuesday as “one of the worst weather storms in the history of our country”.
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government estimated that billions of rand worth of damage had been caused to properties and infrastructure, describing the heavy rains as unleashing “untold havoc” in a statement on Facebook.
The provincial government, which confirmed the number of dead, said in a statement the death toll could rise further and warned heavy rain would continue in the coastal parts of the province.
Authorities in the province are calling for a state of disaster to be declared.
According to them, declaring the flood-stricken area a disaster zone will “enable the province to apply for emergency funding” from the National Treasury and assist with necessary reconstruction work.
Analysis from the World Weather Attribution group showed that the damage inflicted by storms in Southern Africa was exacerbated by global warming.
The region was hit by three cyclones and two tropical storms in six weeks at the beginning of the year.
The government, therefore has urged people to stay safe by avoiding flooded roads and bridges and to evacuate to higher ground if they live in low-lying areas.