April 24 (UPI) -- At least 51 people have died as a result of severe flooding in South Africa as heavy rain and rushing water caused significant damage, officials said Wednesday.
Officials in KwaZulu-Natal province asked residents to help identify bodies recovered in the floodwaters and transported to Pinetown and Magwaza. The region was soaked with rains Monday and Tuesday.
"This is an extremely difficult time, but we have put these measures in place to help our fellow compatriots to cope," Province health official Sibongiseni Dhlomo said.
Dhlomo said clergy members and social workers are helping in flood-stricken with counseling and support for families.
Flooding has collapsed buildings and homes and debris has blocked storm drains and sewer lines, officials said. The inclement weather also caused power outages and cable damage.
KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance Department official Lennox Mabaso warned residents the rain has not slowed enough to stem flooding, and they should leave affected areas.
"We're doing everything to make sure that we reach everyone," Mabaso said, warning that more rain is in the forecast. "We're asking people to move to higher ground."
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited flood-damaged areas Wednesday.
"Arrived back home and flew to KwaZulu-Natal to assess the damage caused by the floods sand review the recovery efforts," Ramaphosa said on Twitter. "Our thoughts are with the affected community in KZN and Eastern Cape. I urge those living in the affected areas to take extra caution in this period."