Cape Town - Authorities have so far confirmed three deaths following devastating floods in the Eastern Cape over the past week.
Four local municipalities - Enoch Mgijima, Dr AB Xuma, Emalahleni, and IntsikaYethu - were affected by the flooding which left road infrastructure and bridges severely impacted, while some have collapsed.
Flooding occurred after torrential rainfalls and adverse weather conditions persisted in the area last week, leaving thousands displaced.
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu confirmed three bodies were found during search operations and searches continued for other possible drownings.
The Chris Hani District Municipality said rescue teams were still in the area to search for missing people who may have been swept away by the heavy floods.
“Disaster management teams, emergency staff, and the SAPS have confirmed that bodies have been recovered following floods that wreaked havoc in the area this week.
Heavy downpours left a trail of destruction in four local municipalities with two people reported to have gone missing in Cofimvaba on Sunday.
Residents are encouraged to report missing persons with the SAPS and they are also urged to avoid dangerous crossings until floodwaters subside,” the municipality said.
The Eastern Cape human settlements department has responded to the displacement of victims and has given assistance to 227 households that needed shelter.
MEC Siphokazi Lusithi said they were moving swiftly to bring relief to the affected families through its emergency programme.
Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) confirmed it had teams on the ground to assist flood victims.
SAHRC Eastern Cape manager Eileen Carter said: “The SAHRC has taken note of the severe flooding that has impacted the Komani area, in the Eastern Cape. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this natural disaster and have lost their homes and belongings.
“The prevalence of natural disasters within the province is gaining momentum, and the SAHRC calls on all our social partners, including government, civil society, the private sector and individuals, to come together and assist in providing relief to the victims of the flooding.”
Carter added: “This is a time for us to demonstrate our collective humanity and solidarity with those in need.
We urge all relevant authorities to take the necessary steps to respond to this crisis, including providing adequate shelter, food, and medical care to those who have been displaced.
“We also call on the private sector to assist with donations of supplies, resources and funding to aid in the relief effort. The SAHRC is in contact with the provincial government and has expressed its support for the efforts already made to safeguard the rights of those most vulnerable. Our team is currently in the area and we will continue to monitor the situation on the ground.”