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South Africa flood death toll surges beyond 300

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA (AFP) – Victims of South Africa’s deadliest storm on record scrambled to get help yesterday as the death toll from floods and landslips that struck the country’s southeast surged beyond 300.

At least 306 people have been killed since the heaviest rainfall in six decades swept away homes and destroyed infrastructure in the city of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal province.

The government declared a state of disaster in the region and pledged relief to those affected.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a visit to the area on Wednesday, described the floods as a “calamity… a catastrophe of enormous proportions”.

Thousands of people have been made homeless, roads and bridges swept away and at least 248 schools have been damaged.

A mortuary worker at the Durban township of Phoenix said over 100 corpses had been brought to the morgue, which has a capacity of 500 bodies.

“Last night there was queue of people bringing bodies. It’s too much,” the worker said, asking not to be named as he did not have permission to speak to the media.

The government of KwaZulu-Natal put out a public call for aid, urging people to donate non-perishable food, bottled water, clothes and blankets. The authorities are assessing “all affected families” for their needs, it said in a statement.

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