South Africans on Friday searched for survivors after floods that killed nearly 400 people, according to the latest count, destroying homes and roads and leaving thousands without shelter, water and power.
Flooding in Kwazulu-Natal province knocked out power lines, closed water services and disrupted operations at one of Africa’s busiest ports. The death toll rose to 395 from a previous estimate of 341.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana told TV station Newsroom Afrika that initial aid of $68.3 million was available for immediate use after the province was declared a disaster area.
Authorities said about 13,600 people were left homeless by the floods.
Local TV stations showed volunteers cleaning plastic containers, piles of bamboo and logs from Durban’s waterfront. On other beaches, a Reuters witness said tourists were enjoying a lull before rains resumed on Friday.
More than 40,000 people were affected by the disaster, officials say.
Scientists believe the southeastern coast of Africa is becoming more vulnerable to violent storms and flooding because emissions of heat-trapping gases cause the Indian Ocean to warm.
The trend is expected to worsen dramatically in the coming decades.