Ladysmith floods death toll rises to 21

KwaZulu-Natal police say the official death toll from the Christmas Eve floods at Ladysmith has climbed to 21, with an unconfirmed number of four people still missing.

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, it was announced that six people had died.

In the days thereafter, rain and full rivers hampered search efforts, but several bodies have been found over the past two days.

KwaZulu-Natal police have deployed almost all of their search and rescue and K9 teams, as well as a helicopter, to take part in the search.

They are being assisted by emergency services, the NSRI, and NGO’s. Police spokesperson Robert Netshiunda says the search continues today.

“An unconfirmed number of four victims are still outstanding, so we continue with the search operation. The mobile command post will move further downstream on Saturday to facilitate the deployment of rescuers. The police will provide further updates as and when new recoveries are made.”


Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service says many parts of KwaZulu-Natal may be in for heavy rainfall throughout the New Year’s long weekend.

A warning had been issued that heavy rainfall may occur from Friday afternoon over the Durban metro, Pietermaritzburg, Estcourt, Mooi River, Newcastle, Kokstad, and Port Shepstone.

Forecaster Wisani Maluleke warned that business owners and residents in low-lying areas should be vigilant because the heavy rain may lead to flooding.

“Tomorrow we have sixty percent showers and thunderstorms in the southern part of the province and thirty percent in the northern part of the province. Looking into the weekend into Monday, we have sixty percent chances of showers and thunderstorms, and they may become severe. We urge everyone to exercise caution on the roads as this may lead to flooding.”

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