At least 51 people have died following heavy rains and flooding that hit South Africa’s province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Reports say more bodies had been discovered under the rubble as rescue operations continued throughout Tuesday night and five more people are still uncounted for.

News24 reported on Tuesday that people’s homes had been swallowed by raging floods, while scores of others have been misplaced in Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape, forcing them to take refuge in community halls and churches.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has since expressed his sadness over the loss of lives and property.

“As South Africans, the entire nation’s thoughts and prayers are with the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape who have been affected by the forces of nature against which they had little defence,” said the president.

KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube urged residents and visitors to the province to remain on full alert and to move to higher ground if under threat. She said disaster relief efforts were in progress in all affected areas.

“Motorists and pedestrians are urged to exercise utmost caution on the roads that are already flooded or where there is high risk of flash flooding.”

On Thursday night, 13 people were killed when part of a Church building collapsed in Dlangubo in KwaZulu-Natal following heavy rains. 

Meanwhile, the search for the missing people continues.

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