Devastating floods wreaked havoc in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban killing more than 250 people on Wednesday, April 13.
Local authorities say the rain that fell in one day (from Tuesday to Wednesday) was months worth of rain.
Officials have called it “one of the worst weather storms in the history of our country” as mudslides trapped people under buildings, while rescue efforts are being hampered by poor visibility.
During rescue efforts, witnesses say a 10-year-old girl was part of a family of four that was swept away on a flooded bridge.
Community volunteers waded into the muddy river, taking turns to hack away at the branches using machetes and removing debris and rubbish that had washed downstream, but if was too late as she died.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the area and pledged to help.
“Even though your hearts are in pain, we’re here for you,” the Reuters news agency quoted him.
He also described the disaster as a force of nature, but geological analysts blame poor drainage and badly built houses in low-lying areas for the high death toll.
Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda denied that poor drainage was to blame, saying the scale of the flood was unexpected.
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government estimates that billions of rand worth of damage has been caused to properties and infrastructure, describing the heavy rains as unleashing “untold havoc” in a statement on Facebook.
Communications have also been disrupted with two major networks reporting that more than 900 of their cell phone towers are down.
At the start of the year, the region was hit by three cyclones and two tropical storms in six weeks, which primarily affected Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi and inflicted widescale damage with 230 reported deaths according to the World Weather Attribution (WWA).