As seven of South Africa’s nine provinces were impacted by flooding on Monday, resulting in damage to roads and bridges and the deaths of at least seven people, the country declared a national disaster.
The national meteorological office predicts that the downpour will continue, since it has already impacted wide portions of the country with heavy rainfall.
Seven provinces, mostly on the east coast, have been hit by floods, and the government has “announced a national state of disaster to allow an intense, coordinated response to the effect of floods,” according to a statement released by the administration.
So far, seven fatalities have been confirmed by disaster management centres, but the official death toll remains unknown.
The provincial disaster management agency COGTA spokesman Nonala Ndlovu confirmed the deaths of five persons in the province’s south-east.
COGTA announced in a statement that among the dead was a newborn infant. Attempts to ford the flooded river by many others have resulted in their disappearance. Authorities in the northern province of Mpumalanga reported two additional fatalities. Several vehicles were swept away and a hospital was destroyed in northern Limpopo.
The presidential statement added, “In agriculture, farmers have experienced crop and animal losses.”
More than 400 people died in Durban and the neighbouring regions of South Africa from the worst floods in living memory last year.