Flash flood kills 14 at Johannesburg church ritual

December 05, 2022

JOHANNESBURG: Flash flooding that followed heavy rains has killed at least fourteen people taking part in religious rituals in Johannesburg, with six others still missing, emergency services said on Sunday.

A group of 33 worshippers had joined church rituals on the banks of the Jukskei river when the flooding stuck on Saturday, said Robert Mulaudzi, spokesman for the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services.

“Two people were swept away and confirmed dead on the scene,” he said

The priest who was presiding at the rituals, including baptisms, survived.

“We continued the search this morning and have recovered seven other bodies,” Mulaudzi added.

Rescue workers and firefighters are still searching for six missing people with emergency services indicating chances of finding them alive were fading.

Sudden surges of water are common in this part of Johannesburg, where storms take place almost every night during the southern summer.

Mulaudzi said people had free access to rivers and “people practise their religion where they wish. But we must intensify our awareness campaigns to avoid such tragedies.”