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Rusa assists in the recovery of 22 bodies in the KZN flood aftermath

Reaction Unit South Africa members assisted in multiple recoveries where victims were drowned or killed in structural collapses. | Supplied/Reaction Unit South Africa

Reaction Unit South Africa members assisted in multiple recoveries where victims were drowned or killed in structural collapses. | Supplied/Reaction Unit South Africa

Published Apr 13, 2022

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Durban - Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) assisted in the recovery of 22 bodies in the aftermath of heavy rains and floods that have ravaged parts of KwaZulu-Natal since the weekend.

Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram said: “Twenty-two bodies have so far been recovered in the aftermath of floods that ravaged KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.”

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Balram said Rusa members assisted in multiple recoveries where victims were drowned or killed in structural collapses.

He said two men were presumed deceased after an outbuilding collapsed in Everest Heights, Verulam, on Monday night. He said 48 hours later, their bodies were yet to be recovered from the debris.

Reaction Unit South Africa members assisted in multiple recoveries where victims were drowned or killed in structural collapses. | Supplied/Reaction Unit South Africa

Here are some of the incidents:

  • A family of three were killed after a landslide caused a wall in their bedroom to collapse at their home in Amaotana, KZN. Members of the community sifted through the rubble before retrieving the bodies of a 72-year-old woman, her 34-year-old daughter and her 13-year-old granddaughter.
  • A woman and her three minor grandchildren drowned after their vehicle was swept off a bridge in oThongathi, KZN. Initial attempts to locate the vehicle and its occupants were unsuccessful after the river burst its banks. The vehicle was later recovered further downstream after the water subsided. The four occupants were declared deceased.
  • Two women were killed after a house collapsed on them in an informal settlement in Redcliffe, Verulam. A 13-year-old boy, who was also in the residence at the time, was located several hours later by residents under debris.
Reaction Unit South Africa members assisted in multiple recoveries where victims were drowned or killed in structural collapses. | Supplied/Reaction Unit South Africa
  • A family of four died after their home in Ogunjini collapsed. The deceased were aged between 54 and seven months. Members of the community extricated the bodies that were buried under the rubble.
  • A woman and two children were killed in a separate incident in another incident in Ogunjini after a mudslide caused a portion of their home to collapse.
  • The body of a man was discovered along the M25 near KwaMashu. It is believed he was swept away.
  • Reaction officers were called out to Ndwedwe after the body of a female was recovered. Three other people are presumed to have also drowned in the area. However, their bodies are yet to be recovered.
  • Rusa has also received requests from residents in Ndwedwe to recover the bodies of three people who are presumed to have drowned in their house. Reaction officers were unable to access the location due to roads being washed away and the terrain was unsuitable for an aircraft to land.
Reaction Unit South Africa members assisted in multiple recoveries where victims were drowned or killed in structural collapses. | Supplied/Reaction Unit South Africa

“Rusa was also contacted by the families of 25 people who were missing. Ten people have since made contact with their families. They claimed that they had sought refuge from the downpour and due to infrastructure damage were unable to make contact with anyone,” Balram said.

“The number of those killed in the floods is expected to rise. Thousands of people have also been displaced after their homes were damaged.”

Balram further explained that the Rusa helicopter was unable to lift off from the helipad due to zero visibility and heavy rain on Monday afternoon. Visibility has since improved and the pilot and two crew members have been airborne since Tuesday afternoon assisting in operations.

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“Three hundred and eight call-outs relating to flooding have been attended to by reaction officers and paramedics in the past 45 hours. Statistics may be much higher,” Balram said.

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