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FILE PHOTO: A woman and child walks through water and mud during heavy flooding as a result of a storm in Sandvlei, close to Somerset West, South Africa. /CFP

13 people dead as heavy rains wreak havoc in South Africa

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Local authorities in South Africa said Wednesday that at least 13 people lost their lives due to heavy rains in the country’s eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal since the end of last week, warning that more disruptive rains are expected across the province in the following days.

“More than 80 mm of rainfall accumulation is predicted in some places along the coast and the northern interior of KwaZulu-Natal. There is a high risk of widespread flooding,” said the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in a statement.

On Wednesday morning, the South African Weather Service issued a level-5 warning of heavy rains for coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal. According to South Africa’s weather warnings matrix, a level-5 warning means the event’s likelihood will be medium but the impact will be significant.

“Disaster management teams are on alert and will be monitoring routes that are prone to weather-related incidents,” said the provincial department, urging all residents in the affected areas to take precautions and prioritize their safety.

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government said Tuesday that it was in talks with the national government to declare the province a disaster region following the damaging storms in December last year.

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