Durban - Last Sunday, only one person had been killed when the home he was in collapsed due to heavy rainfall but today, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said 443 people had been killed and 63 were reported missing.
Zikalala also said they had completed more than half of the post mortems.
Zikalala was addressing the media on Sunday afternoon, giving a comprehensive update on the flood disaster.
He said they suspected that the human toll and damage surpassed the 1987 floods in KZN.
Zikalala said that on Sunday morning, 38 call-outs were received and on the scenes that were attended to, six bodies were recovered.
“We stand at 63 persons missing or unaccounted for. The death toll now stands at 443,” Zikalala said.
“We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the family of one of our search and rescue team members who were busy doing search and rescue at the Henley Dam. He experienced difficulty breathing and was airlifted to the Medi-Clinic Hospital and unfortunately passed away. May his soul rest in peace.”
Emer-G-Med expressed their heartfelt condolences to the South African Police Services Search and Rescue Unit on the tragic news of the death of two of their members lost in the line of duty on Sunday.
Spokesperson Kyle van Reenen said Sergeant Busi Mjwara and K9 officer Leah made the ultimate sacrifice to the republic during rescue operation efforts in flood-stricken KZN.
“Thank you members for your service both human and K9,” Van Reenen said.
Zikalala said the KZN Department of Health mortuaries had “completed 243 post-mortems and are left with 114 more to complete.”
“We have mobilised additional resources, including seven doctors, to ensure that post mortems are completed speedily, in order to avoid congestion and to enable those who are grieving to bury their loved ones. Our officials are constantly monitoring the situation and sending bodies to those facilities that do have space,” Zikalala said.
He appealed to those who have lost their loved ones to be patient and wished to assure them that they were doing the best they could under the circumstances.
He also appealed to funeral directors to stop creating a false sense of alarm, to allow their forensic pathologists to do their work unhindered - and to collect bodies that have been completed without delay.