More than 60 people have been killed in southern and eastern parts of South Africa after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed homes and other buildings in coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, local officials said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the affected region on Wednesday.
“This situation calls on all of us to pull together as a country to reach out to affected communities,” he said in a statement.
Ramaphosa praised the rescue services on Twitter for the “rapid response” and said the floods and mudslides have displaced more than 1,000 people.
We want to commend rescue services at all levels of government for their rapid response. Resources have been mobilized and our teams on the ground have saved lives. More than 1000 people have been displaced and government is providing shelter and support to those in need. pic.twitter.com/Ve1L8CHK5A
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) April 24, 2019
The region has been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said, adding some people were swept away.
Multiple dwellings collapsed in the mudslides, said KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman Robert McKenzie.
Some major roads in and around the port city of Durban were closed on Wednesday, local media reported.
Flooding also killed at least three people in the Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said on Wednesday.
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) April 23, 2019
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.