(CNN) – More rain and damaging winds are expected across South Africa’s east coast, following days of severe storms and flooding in which nearly 400 people have died, the KwaZulu-Natal regional government warned on Friday.
Heavy rains and flooding first hit KwaZulu-Nata, which includes the coastal city of Durban, on Monday. Roads cracked and gave way to deep fissures, homes were destroyed, and stacks of shipping containers collapsed, news agency images showed.
Following a brief rain-free interval Thursday, the KwaZulu-Natal government said it had received a warning from the South African Weather Service that “disruptive rain” and “damaging winds” are forecast for the province from Friday until Saturday evening.
Described by the regional government as “one of the darkest moments in the history” of the KwaZulu-Natal province, the death toll from the storms has now risen to 395, spokesperson Lennox Mabaso told CNN on Friday.
Over 40,000 people have been affected by the floods, the regional government said in its statement.
“We wish to express our gratitude for the ongoing support that our province continues to receive from across all sectors of our society as we deal with one of the most devastating disasters to have faced our country,” it added.
Authorities warned that housing settlements on steep slopes are at risk of further damage, as are bridges and courses in low-lying areas.
“People who need to evacuate will be housed in community facilities such as halls and schools,” it said.
National government ministers were due to make a visit Friday to the city of Durban, one of the most severely impacted areas with 355 recorded deaths across the eThekwini municipality, the KwaZulu-Natal regional government said.
A bridge near Durban was swept away in the storms, leaving people stranded on either side.
Work is ongoing to repair damaged roads, water, sanitation and electricity infrastructure, the regional government added.
CNN’s David McKenzie, Larry Madowo, Mia Alberti and Angela Dewan contributed to this report