On Tuesday, April 12, authorities announced that about 60 people had died in floods caused by torrential rains on the country’s east coast over several days. This outcome could increase with more rain “maximum” Was scheduled for the night of Tuesday to Wednesday in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, accompanied by‘widespread flood’The South African meteorological services warned.
45 people were killed in Durban, the largest city in the region, and “At least fourteen people lost their lives.” The local authorities said in a statement in the neighboring Ilimbi region. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his regret ‘A tragic outcome’ He announced in a press release that he will be there on Wednesday.
Rescue operations continued throughout the day, particularly in Durban, one of the main African ports open to the Indian Ocean. The army was mobilized to provide air support during the evacuations. Collapsed bridges and damaged roads, residents and schoolchildren were imprisoned by the rising waters for several hours. At least 140 schools have been affected.
The county government said more than 2,000 homes were damaged, as well as 4,000 informal homes. “It’s a nightmare, lots of mudslides, casualties, collapsed buildings”told AFP (AFP), member of the rescue teams, Gareth Jamison.
Many roads were cut off. Container stocks fell like dominoes on one of the region’s major highways. There were reports of looting, with televisions showing images of people stealing goods from metal boxes.
A truck driver told AFP he felt his truck shake: “I thought someone had hit me. But when I opened the curtain, I saw that the water had risen.” The local NGO, Gift of the Givers “Highways turned into rivers” People are trapped under the collapsing walls.
On the popular beaches of Durban, piles of debris, branches and plastic bottles have accumulated. An AFP photographer noted that a tanker truck tanker was taken to the seashore.
The town’s mayor, Mxulisi Kaunda, said the torrential rains led to power outages and disruption of the water supply. Railroads were suspended due to landslides and debris on the tracks. Residents were urged to avoid any movement. Danish shipping giant Maersk has announced the suspension of its activities in the port.
Disadvantaged neighborhoods on the front line
These extreme weather events will be More frequent and more intense With worsening climate change, Marie Galvin, a professor of development studies at the University of Johannesburg, said she regretted the lack of anticipation from the authorities. In 2019, floods in the area claimed 70 lives.
The bad weather also hit hard in the slums on the outskirts of Durban, made up of slums built on flood-prone areas. “Floods are the result of poor planning, and the poor and vulnerable are the most affected.”lamented to the urban planning expert at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Hope Magidimisha-Chipungu.
Durban was already devastated by a wave of rioting and looting in July 2021, the worst violence in the country since the end of apartheid, which was originally sparked by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.