Sunday, 07 February 2021 17:01

Staff Reporter.

Search and rescue operations are under way in Mpumalanga after severe flooding claimed the lives of eight people while five others are missing.

Among the missing residents feared to have been swept away by the floods is a 13-year-old boy.

The Cooperative Governance Department said at least eight people were swept away by floods including a mother and her baby, but there are growing fears this number could soon rise.

Families have now joined disaster management teams in the search for their loved ones despite heavy rains hampering rescue efforts.

Cogta spokesperson George Mthethwa said: "A search operation is under way, but of course, with the disruptive rain, the research operations carried by police divers had to be called off at some point because of the rising levels of water in the Witbank."

Mthethwa said Mbombela, Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi have been the hardest hit with roads and bridges collapsing while several houses have been washed away.

South Africa has experienced heavy rainfall since tropical storm Eloise hit Mozambique over two weeks ago. The South African Weather Service has warned of more possible flooding in Limpopo, Free State and North West in the coming days.