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At least 14 dead after flash flood hits baptism


The Jukskei River in Johannesburg is searched on Sunday, Dec. 4. Associated Press

At least 14 dead after flash flood hits baptism

Fourteen people died in South Africa after a flash flood on Saturday swept away worshipers attending a riverside service. A congregation was holding a baptism ceremony in Johannesburg’s Jukskei River near the Alexandra Township when the water surged. Local media reported about 30 people were in the water when the flash flood hit. City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said the bodies of two individuals were recovered Saturday, and twelve were recovered Sunday. Recovery efforts are ongoing as several people remain unaccounted for.

What caused the flood? Officials warned against holding gatherings in or near the river as the area has received significant rainfall over the last three months, Mulaudzi said. It is common for religious groups to meet near the river. On Monday, the South African Weather Service warned that heavy rainfalls Monday could lead to more flooding in the Gauteng province where Johannesburg is located.

Dig deeper: Listen to Bonnie Pritchett’s report on The World and Everything in It about how two pastors in Uvalde, Texas, worked to comfort a community in mourning.


Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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