PRETORIA, South Africa, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- At least 40 people have died in the past month from flooding in South Africa, officials say.
The floods, fed by heavy rain, have forced thousands of people from their homes along the Orange River, the longest in the country, the BBC reported. The air force was brought in to assist with evacuations.
President Jacob Zuma has set up a task force to deal with the emergency headed by Sicelo Shiceka, the minister for cooperative government. The panel is expected to declare a state of emergency in parts of the country this weekend.
Shiceka told the BBC the task force is also looking ahead to prevent future problems.
"Among other things we are looking at, is that people must not build in flood plains," he said. "People who have been displaced must not go back."
The confirmed death toll is now 40, but police divers were searching flooded areas for bodies.