Death toll rises to 87 in South Africa floods

The South African authorities on Friday revised the death toll from the recent flooding to 87, up from the previous 70.

The widespread flooding over the Easter weekend, resulted in the loss of 87 lives in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and the Free State provinces.

Kwa-Zulu Natal, however, accounts for 71 of the fatalities, the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) said.

Heavy storms swept through the three provinces late April, causing severe flooding, which left behind a trail of destruction and displaced thousands of people.

The storms inflicted massive damage on critical public and private infrastructure, including health and educational facilities; as well as road and railway infrastructure across the three provinces, most notably in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, the NDMC said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Tuesday declared a period of national mourning for the flood victims in what was believed to be the worst natural disaster in the country for years.

During the mourning period from May 1 to May 7, the national flag would fly at half-mast at every station in the country.

Also on Friday, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Zweli Mkhize, classified the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal as a provincial disaster.

Mkhize said his ministry was working closely with other ministries, including human settlements, defence, police, social development, water and sanitation.

He listed others as public works, health, basic education and home affairs ministries to ensure that priority post-disaster activities were undertaken.

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