Key highways linking South Africa’s biggest port to the commercial hub of Johannesburg and its eastern seaboard were closed as severe flooding hit the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The so-called N3 highway that connects Johannesburg to the port of Durban has been closed to southbound traffic because of debris on the road caused by the floods, KwaZulu-Natal’s Transport Department said on Twitter.
Bridges on the N2, the main highway along the nation’s Indian Ocean coastline, have been washed away, Parboo Sewpersad, a spokesman for eThekwini Metropolitan police, said on Durban-based East Coast Radio.
At least 20 people may have been killed because of the flooding, Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA reported. Local media reports showed videos and images of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S-labeled shipping containers adrift in the water.
“The inclement weather conditions are expected to continue today” in areas around eThekwini municipality, which includes the city of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department said in a statement. “This increases the risk of flooding getting worse in all these areas.”
South Africa is this year experiencing the La Nina weather phenomenon, which usually causes above normal rainfall in the country and its neighbors. In January, many parts of the nation experienced the heaviest rains since tracking by district began in 1921.
Transnet, which manages the Durban port, declined to comment and said it will issue a statement later on Tuesday.
Orange level 8 warning: Rain: KZN: 11 – 12 April 2022 pic.twitter.com/iKlZ4qJmT5
— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) April 11, 2022