Connect with us

International

14 killed, scores missing as flood sweeps away South African worshippers

Published

on

Not less than 14 people have been confirmed dead while an unspecified number are still missing after flash flood from the Jukskei River in Johannesburg, South Africa, swept away worshippers during a church ceremony, rescue officials said on Sunday.

Spokesman of the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services which is coordinating the search and rescue operations, Robert Mulaudzi, said a group of 33 worshippers had joined church rituals on the river banks when the flooding struck on Saturday.

“Some of the more than 30 congregants were standing on rocks in the river for the religious rituals on Saturday when a torrent of water surged through,” he said at a press conference.

“The pastor was saved after he clung on to an overhanging tree branch as he was being carried away,” he added.

“We had initially recovered nine dead bodies as at Saturday but on Sunday, we discovered five more bodies, making it 14 dead.

Read also:Two dead, 11 injured in Bauchi auto crash

“Religious groups frequently gather along the Jukskei River, which runs past townships such as Alexandra in the east of Johannesburg, for baptisms and ritual cleansing.

“Officials have warned residents about the dangers of conducting the rituals along the river.

“We have been receiving a lot of rain on the city of Johannesburg in the last three months, and most of the river streams are now full.

“Our residents, especially congregants who normally practice these kinds of rituals, will be tempted to go to these river streams.

“Our message for them is to exercise caution as and when they conduct these rituals,” he added.

As at Monday, rescue workers and firefighters were still searching for the missing people, with emergency services indicating the chances of finding them alive were fading.

Join the conversation

Opinions

Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five × five =