Durban floods: More than 50 people dead in South Africa after flooding and mudslides caused by heavy rain

Bonnie Christian

More than 50 people have been killed in southern and eastern parts of South Africa after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides.

Rescue workers have been digging through collapsed homes and other buildings in coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, where the death toll has reached 51, local officials said on Wednesday.

The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of the downpour late on Monday, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department said.

"As a result there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people," he said, adding some people were swept away by the water.

Vehicles and debris are scattered after massive flooding in Amanzimtoti, near Durban. (GAVIN WELSH)

A KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman said multiple dwellings and houses collapsed in the mudslides.

Some major roads in and around the port city of Durban were closed on Wednesday, local media reported.

People stand on a damaged road after massive flooding in Amanzimtoti. (GAVIN WELSH)

Flooding also killed at least three people in the Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will visit communities in both provinces, his office said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.