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South Africa Flood Toll Rises to 443, Dozens Still Missing

South Africa Flood Toll Rises to 443, Dozens Still Missing
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By Staff, Agencies

At least 443 people have lost their lives in floods that have devastated South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, according to an official, as rescuers searched for dozens of people still missing in the southeastern coastal region.

Sihle Zikalala, the province’s premier, said on Sunday that the dead included two emergency workers, adding that some 63 people remain unaccounted for.

The floodwaters are the strongest to have struck KwaZulu-Natal in recent memory and were triggered by torrential rains that lashed the province last week.

The deluge engulfed the region, smashing into the port city of Durban and surrounding areas, pulling with it buildings and people. Most of the casualties were in Durban, and parts of the city have been without water for days.

Scores of hospitals and more than 500 schools in the region have also been destroyed.

“The loss of life, destruction of homes, the damage to the physical infrastructure … make this natural disaster one of the worst ever in recorded history of our province,” said Zikalala.

In some of the worst-affected areas, some residents faced an agonizing wait for the news of missing loved ones.