Severe flooding in South Africa kills nearly 400
The balance of deaths due to the serious floods that are taking place in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, in eastern South Africa, increased this Saturday with another three deaths, up to a total of 398, and at least 27 people are still missing, they reported. official sources.
The emergency teams continue to work in the devastated area, which is again on alert due to the forecast of heavy rains and winds. “According to the latest update, the death toll has risen and now stands at 398, with 27 people still missing,” the KwaZulu-Natal Council for Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs confirmed in a statement this afternoon.
One of the “darkest” moments
Local authorities, who have described this disaster as one of the “darkest” moments in the history of the province, estimate that some 40,000 people have been affected by the floods since the torrential rains began last Monday. They also calculate that 3,937 houses were totally destroyed and 8,039 partially damaged.
The South African government has declared a state of disaster in the province and has deployed Army troops to assist in emergency work and in the search for missing persons. The value of the total damage has yet to be quantified, but it will amount to millionaire losses, as KwaZulu-Natal’s head of government, Sihle Zikalala, admitted this week.
The most affected area is the Durban area, which is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest in South Africa. The floods hit the surrounding informal settlement slums especially hard, some of them completely swept away by water and landslides. Also the infrastructure of electricity, running water and many medical centers have been severely damaged.
According to calculations by Mxolisi Kaunda, the mayor of the City Council that hosts Durban (officially called eThekwini), only in that municipality the damage was quantified on Thursday at 757 million rands (about 50 million euros).
The country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, visited the affected area last Wednesday and stated that it was a “disaster of enormous proportions”, in addition to directly linking the floods to climate change.
KwaZulu-Natal has been experiencing an increase in these types of severe weather events in recent years. The most serious in recent times occurred in 2019, when torrential rains and floods left some 80 dead at this same time of year.
This province is also still dealing with the desolation caused by the serious disturbances that South Africa experienced in July 2021 and which were experienced with greater intensity precisely in KwaZulu-Natal, where 275 of the 354 deaths that those incidents left were recorded.