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Queen sympathises with South Africa after nation hit by deadly floods

Shipping containers carried away and left in a jumbled pile by floods in Durban, South Africa, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Flooding in South Africa’s Durban area has taken at least 259 lives and is a “catastrophe of enormous proportions,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Str/PA)
Shipping containers carried away and left in a jumbled pile by floods in Durban, South Africa, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Flooding in South Africa’s Durban area has taken at least 259 lives and is a “catastrophe of enormous proportions,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Str/PA)

The Queen has expressed her sympathy for the people of South Africa affected by devastating floods which have killed hundreds in the country.

Heavy rains and flooding have claimed the lives of at least 306 in South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, including the city of Durban.

The death toll is expected to rise as scores of people, including whole families, are missing, officials from the nation have said.

In her message the Queen said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life and destruction caused by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal province.

“My thoughts are with all those who have lost their lives, their loved ones, homes and businesses.

“The United Kingdom stands in solidarity with South Africa as you recover from these terrible events.”

The persistent rains have wreaked havoc in the province, destroying homes, collapsing buildings and washing away major roads.

The damage to Durban and the surrounding eThekwini metropolitan area is estimated at 52 million dollars (£40 million), eThekwini mayor Mxolosi Kaunda said.

At least 120 schools have been flooded, causing damage estimated at more than 26 million dollars (£20 million) and forcing officials to temporarily close all schools in the province.

At least 18 students and one teacher from various schools have died in the floods, education minister Angie Motshekga said.

“This is a catastrophe and the damage is unprecedented. What is even more worrying is that more rain is expected in the same areas that are already affected,” Ms Motshekga said in a statement.