At least three bodies have been recovered and hundreds of people have been evacuated following heavy downpours and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal. Multiple reports of damage with a block of flats in Umdloti being evacuated after it started to collapse.

eThekwini municipality Head of Disaster Management, Vincent Ngubane said the three bodies were found next to a river in the KwaSeme area on Saturday afternoon and admitted to the Phoenix mortuary.

At least 250 residents in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal, had to be evacuated from their homes due to localised flooding as heavy rains that started Friday continue in the province. 

Meanwhile, the eThekwini Municipality has warned residents to be extra vigilant and its metro police department has activated a disaster plan.

KwaZulu-Natal Emergency and Medical Services (EMS) said emergency services remained on high alert as heavy rains continue in the province, especially in the eThekwini district. It also said some roads are affected by localised flooding, and warned residents to avoid driving or crossing affected roads. 

Paul Nerbst from medic response said, “Together with NSRI and police search and rescue divers on the scene in the Umdloti area, we safely evacuated a block of flats that was starting to collapse due to the current rain in the KZN area.”

The South African Weather Service says it expects the rains to continue this week.

The service has increased its warning to a red level 10 – the highest adverse weather warning – and it comes after rains caused destruction in the province last month.

KwaZulu-Natal is still restoring damaged infrastructure and making plans to re-home people displaced after the flooding last month, which was among the worst to have affected KwaZulu-Natal province in its recorded history. April’s floods killed 448, with 88 still missing, left more than 6,800 homeless and damaged more than 25 billion Rands ($1.58 billion) of infrastructure.

Scientists believe the southeastern coast of Africa is becoming more vulnerable to violent storms and floods as human emissions of heat-trapping gases cause the Indian Ocean to warm. They expect the trend to worsen dramatically in the coming decades if climate change is not addressed globally.