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South Africa: Flash Floods Claim 6 Lives, Leave Dozens Missing

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In a devastating turn of events, the city of Ladysmith in eastern South Africa has been hit by flash floods, claiming the lives of at least six people and leaving 11 more missing. The catastrophe unfolded when a deluge, reaching a staggering 10 meters (33 feet) in depth, swept through a district in the KwaZulu Natal province, destroying homes and cars in its path.

The torrential rains, which began late on Sunday approximately 230 kilometers (140 miles) northwest of Durban, have persisted, hindering ongoing rescue efforts. Rescue teams are grappling to locate survivors amidst the challenging conditions exacerbated by the relentless rainstorms.

Reports indicate that the coastal town of Mandeni, located south of Ladysmith, also faced the brunt of the flooding, resulting in three individuals being carried away by the river.

Eyewitness News has confirmed that among the casualties are an 8-year-old child and an adult male who lost their lives while attempting to cross a river on Christmas day. Some local media outlets have suggested that the death toll may be higher, possibly reaching seven.

Tereza van den Berg, a team leader for the IPSS rescue organization, described the severity of the situation, stating, “Nobody had a chance to grab anything.” Some of the recovered bodies were found inside cars swept away by the flash floods, further underscoring the destructive force of the natural disaster.

The KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Dube-Ncube, expressed her condolences to the families affected by the floods. In a statement on social media, she attributed the calamity to heavy rains causing the Bellspuit river to burst its banks, leading to water overflow onto the N11 road near the Limit Hill robots in Ladysmith Town.

The recent floods in the KwaZulu Natal province add to a series of weather-related disasters the region has faced, a trend that is increasingly attributed to the impact of climate change. Just last year, in April 2022, Durban experienced devastating floods that resulted in the tragic loss of nearly 400 lives.

As rescue teams continue to battle the aftermath of the flash floods in Ladysmith, the community mourns the lives lost and anxiously awaits news of those still missing in the wake of this heart-wrenching natural disaster.

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