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.
“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
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.
INVESTIGATION: 4 yrs after completion, Kwara PHC facility inactive, rural dwellers in pains
In the middle of the night sometime in September 2019, Fatimah Ballah struggled with severe pains as she tries to...
INVESTIGATION: How Oyo State, contractors spent N1.1bn on water projects, but communities don’t have a drop
Multimillion naira water projects largely initiated by the late Abiola Ajimobi-led state government in Oyo State to benefit over 40...
INVESTIGATION: In Cross River, civil servants retire into poverty as govt looks away, squanders funds on frivolities
Thousands of civil servants in Cross River State struggle to stay alive as they are denied their gratuities and monthly...
Students suffer as contractors abandon Kano school projects after receiving over N70m
In 2019, to improve the condition of public schools in Kano State, the Federal Government disbursed millions of naira to...
SPECIAL REPORT: World Bank road projects go bad in Enugu, as state govt fails to fulfill promise
Counterpart funded road projects between the world Bank and Enugu State government have started to fail, as the state government...