Officials in flood-hit KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa has reached 443 while 63 people remain missing. The premier of the province said on Sunday in a televised briefing.
Government has estimated 10 billion rand ($684.58 million) in damage in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), a senior provincial official said on Sunday, as rescuers hunt for missing persons.
The floods have left thousands homeless, interrupted power, disrupted water supply services and port operations in one of Africa’s busiest ports, Durban.
Also among the dead is Pietermaritzburg search and rescue police officer, Sergeant Busisiswe Mjwara (42) who drowned on Sunday while searching for flood victims at the Henley Dam area.
The National Commissioner of the SAPS General Fannie Masemola confirmed that two police members, and Police dog Leah from the Durban SAPS K9 also drowned.
Ravi Pillay, a KZN official responsible for economic development, tourism, and environmental affairs, said that in addition to just over 400 deaths, about 40 to 50 people are yet to be accounted for.
Referring to the damage, he told newsmen that it had “exceeded the 10 billion mark at this point.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement late on Saturday he had delayed a working visit to Saudi Arabia to focus on the disaster. Ramaphosa will meet cabinet ministers to assess the response to the crisis.
Pillay said some KZN hotels had reported occupancy levels of up to 70 percent but there had been a significant number of cancellations over the normally busy Easter weekend that he estimated at 30 percent in some cases.
“It is very unfortunate because…we are coming back from a very traumatic two and a half years, and we actually had been building very nicely January, February, March in terms of our tourism numbers,” he said. They were looking forward to that proverbial bumper Easter that was not to be.