Government has revised the death toll from the devastating floods that have wreaked havoc in KwaZulu-Natal to 435 from 448.
This was announced on Thursday during a media briefing in Pretoria by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS).
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the death toll was revised down after post-mortems revealed that four people were murdered and nine others died from natural causes in flood-affected areas.
“A total of 435 people have died as a result of the floods that ravaged the KwaZulu-Natal province. There was a figure of 448 fatalities which has now been revised down to 435,” Cele said.
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The minister said pathologists found that four people died as a result of murder as their bodies were found with bullet wounds.
“Three of the bodies are from Pinetown and one is from Sydenham. Nine more people were determined to have died from natural causes, which were not related to the disaster,” he said.
According to Cele, the number of people who were missing or unaccounted for in the wake of the floods was unconfirmed at this stage.
Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers said on Wednesday more than 200 people could still be missing in KZN.
The organisation’s founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said they were inundated with messages from families whose loved ones have not been found or unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, Cele said search and recovery operations continued in KZN and more bodies were being recovered around Umzinyathi, Hammarsdale, Reservoir Hills, Hamburg and Henley Dam.
“These are run under the South African National Defence Force (SANDF),” he said.
Government deployed 10 000 troops to the flood hit-province after it declared a national state of disaster to respond to widespread flooding.
400 SANDF troops were on the ground in KZN for emergency, relief and reconstruction operations. The rest of the 10 000 soldiers were expected to land in the province soon.
“The SA army will, as a matter of priority, work on restoring the vehicle and pedestrian bridges in Nteke [west of Durban] starting on 21 April 2022.
“Soldiers will also provide clean drinking water to Pinetown west, Umzinyathi and uThongathi communities using the military water provision system, providing water sachets to affected communities,” Cele said.
Among the other relief measures announced on Thursday included the South African Air Force providing airpower capabilities to assist with search and recovery efforts, including the transportation of humanitarian relief in the form of equipment and goods.