A shack on the bank of the Umhlatuzana River in the New City informal settlement washed away after heavy rain devasted parts of Marianhill. Picture: Karen Singh

DURBAN - Following the recent floods that claimed the lives of 71 people, KwaZulu-Natal has been declared a disaster area.

A statement issued by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs announced that the  KZN Provincial government has also received a confirmation from the national disaster centre that the province has “been classified as a disaster area.”

“To this effect, a team from national will work with the provincial teams to ensure a speedy recovery to the disaster incident. Most families will lay their loved ones to rest this coming weekend,” said KZN Cogta spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday declared seven days of mourning 1-7 May and ordered that flags fly at half-mast in honour of those that perished in the disasters that struck the province.

Earlier today thousands of mourners gathered at eThekwini's Curries Fountain Stadium to pay respects to the 71 people who lost their lives in the Easter weekend floods in the province that have also caused widespread damage to KZN's private and public infrastructure.

Yesterday, COGTA urged the families of unclaimed victims of the recent floods to come forward and expedite the identification process.

To date there are seven unidentified bodies at Pinetown, Phoenix and Gale Street Mortuary, some presumably belonging to Foreign Nationals.