Picture: SAPS Search and Rescue

Durban - Police Search and Rescue officers have recovered the bodies of an 18-month-old toddler and her three-year-old sister, from near the Isipingo canal, south of Durban.

Hope Maphumulo was one of several people who went missing during the devastating storm that hit KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.

Police have also recovered the body of Hope's three-year-old sister, Nolwazi.

The girls were found on the same floodplain. The search for their mother continues.

Police divers, from Durban, and dog handlers, from Port Shepstone, found the little girls on Thursday morning.

Their bodies had washed up on the floodplain, about 200 metres from the canal, after the  floodwaters had subsided.

Rescue services from around the province have spent the last three days searching for them and other victims of the storm.

It has claimed at least 14 lives already.

And the death toll is expected to continue to rise, with at least five people still unaccounted for.

Amongst those still missing are 14-year-old Nomthandazo Chili, from Folweni, and 22-month old Okuhle Kweyama, from Umlazi D Section.

The Mercury