Flash floods killed over a dozen people in the small town of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal province, South African officials said Saturday.
“As of Friday, 29 December 2023, a total of 21 bodies have been recovered,” said police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda.
The floods hit the town on Christmas Day, destroying about 1,400 homes, with the death toll expected to rise as an unconfirmed number of people are still missing, he said.
Search and rescue teams have been scouring rivers to recover bodies, Netshiunda said. The operation is expected to continue throughout the weekend.
Tragedy hit one family in Ladysmith set to bury seven of its members who were killed when floods swept their vehicle into the river. Rescue teams recovered the bodies of Vincent Msimango, his wife, two children, brother, niece and nephew earlier this week, local news outlet Eyewitness News reported Saturday.
KwaZulu-Nata province has witnessed devastating floods in the past two years.
In June, heavy rainfall triggered deluges that killed seven people, and another seven went missing, in and around the city of Durban.
In April 2022, devastating floods hit the coastal province killing more than 440 people.