A flooded street in Lachen Valley, in India's Sikkim state, on October 4, 2023, following a flash flood caused by intense rainfall

Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday expressed sympathy toward the tragic death of six people in Ladysmith town, after the Bellspuit river overflowed following heavy rains on Christmas Eve, triggering flash floods.

The tragic incident took place on Monday, killing at least six people, while 10 individuals were still missing. The flooding largely affected people living in a caravan park.

"It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that I extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of victims who lost their lives due to the heavy rains on Christmas Eve that resulted in the Bellspuit river, which runs under the Mbonothu bridge, bursting its banks, causing water to overflow onto the N11 road near the Limit Hill robots, in Ladysmith Town," Dube-Ncube wrote on KwaZulu-Natal province's official X handle, formerly Twitter.

A social media user shared a video of a rescue operation, where officials were trying to find the missing people.

IPSS medical emergency services said on Tuesday that a massive storm hit the Ladysmith area on Sunday night, triggering a flash flood on Christmas Eve.

The department explained that one Ladysmith SAPS K9 Search and Rescue member K9 Warrant Officer Meyer and his K9, Storm, with assistance from volunteer JP Strydom worked tirelessly to recover the bodies of six people.

IPSS Search and Rescue has since deployed a four-man team and two vehicle teams to work with the SAPS K9 Search and Rescue to aid rescue efforts.

The KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs disclosed that the teams provided disaster relief materials such as hygiene packs, mattresses and blankets to the affected people.

"Ladysmith has historically been susceptible to flooding due to its location in a floodplain along the catchment area. The municipality has a long history of flash floods caused by thunderstorms or slow-moving cut-off flows," the department added, IOL reported.

Last week, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) had issued a warning about severe thunderstorms with strong damaging winds and heavy rainfall leading to floods in some localities.

SAWS warned of thunderstorms in the extreme eastern parts of the Free State, north-western parts of KwaZulu-Natal, eastern Highveld, escarpment areas of Mpumalanga and the extreme south-eastern parts of Limpopo.