Heavy rains kill 253 in S Africa

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Johhanesburg, April 14

The death toll due to heavy rains in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province has risen to 253, said a government official.

KwaZulu-Natal Member of the Executive Council for Health, Nomagugu Simelane announced the death toll while speaking to the television station ENCA on Wednesday.

Simelane was speaking on the sidelines of the visit by President Cyril Ramaphosa to areas affected by the rains to console bereaved families, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We are concerned about the waters…Our biggest worry is about the number of bodies we are finding. Our mortuaries are under pressure, but we are coping. As of last night, we received 253 bodies from two of our mortuaries, that is Phoenix and Pine town. It's a serious concern, a serious worry," he said.

Ramaphosa moved to many areas in KwaZulu-Natal addressing people and consoling them on the loss of their relatives. He said the government will help those affected by rains.

"The most painful effect of these floods is that many lives have been lost, people's homes have been destroyed, streets, bridges and churches have been destroyed. We know that your hearts are broken because of what has happened but we are here to say that we are with you," he said.

KwaZulu-Natal Member of the Executive Council for Education, Kwazi Mshengu said they have temporarily closed schools in the provinces as it is dangerous for teachers and learners to travel. He said some schools are not accessible with bridges washed away and water still flowing.


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