Heavy rains are common in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province and have become more frequent due to climate change, experts say.
Four people have died in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal after the southeastern province was hit by heavy rain and a tornado, the authorities said on Thursday.
Powerful winds and rainfall damaged roads and flooded houses and sewer systems, followed by a tornado that struck north of the port city of Durban on Tuesday.
“Regrettably, so far four people have been confirmed to have lost their lives,” the province’s disaster management department said in a statement.
Three people died in Durban and a fourth in wider KwaZulu-Natal, it said, adding that a fifth person was missing and more than 150 were homeless.
Local daily News 24 reported Nonala Ndlovu, a spokesperson for the provincial department of cooperative governance, as saying that public infrastructure, including sewage systems, has also been damaged.
The rainy season in KwaZulu-Natal usually runs from November to March, and exceptional rainfall at this time of year is unusual, it said.
“We are experiencing firsthand the true effects of climate change during the winter season,” the department said.
In April 2022, the province was hit by the worst floods in living memory, suffering the loss of more than 400 lives in Durban and surrounding areas.
Experts have warned that floods and other extreme weather events are becoming more powerful and frequent as the world gets warmer, due to climate change.