The human toll from floods in South Africa is increasing, the damage estimated at hundreds of millions of euros

Hit by deadly floods, South Africa on Tuesday, April 19, began assessing the devastation wrought by a week of severe weather in the Durban region on the east coast.

At least 448 people were killed, according to a new report released in the evening, with the first economic estimates putting it in the hundreds of millions of euros. Five new bodies were found today.The territory’s chief minister, Sohail Zikalala, said on the ground. ‘Worst floods we’ve ever seen’Earlier, Minister Responsible for Disaster Management Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma denounced.

Heavy rains and landslides wreaked havoc on the coastal city agglomeration of 3.9 million people, the epicenter of the disaster in KwaZulu-Natal: torn roads, collapsed bridges, damaged pipes. President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster on Monday, which should allow the release of extraordinary resources.

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Helicopters are still flying over the city, searching for dozens of people who are still missing. The influx of corpses has put pressure on the mortuaries.

water challenge

Throughout the day, ministers visited schools, health facilities and badly damaged infrastructure. “The main challenge is the water”Health Minister Joe Vahla said he was discharged from the hospital as patients use buckets to flush the toilet. Residents were deprived of drinking water for eight days, and 80% of the city’s network was affected. Nearly 4,000 homes were destroyed, and more than 13,500 were damaged. Tank trucks are trying to reach residents, but areas are still inaccessible. Authorities said they have restored power almost everywhere, but the country is experiencing new load losses due to aging infrastructure.

About 10,000 soldiers, including plumbers and electricians, have been deployed to help with rehabilitation. Air support was strengthened, especially for the transport of goods. Troops were sent to distribute tanks and install water purification systems.

I don’t understand why they waited so long before sending in the army. (…) What is it now? To recover the bodies? »Plague Olona Ngkubo, 26, who lost her home.

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About 270,000 students did not return to class, and more than 600 schools were affected. Also at the site, Education Minister Angie Muchekja said that at least 27 million euros would be required for the reconstruction of the buildings alone.

There must be absolute transparency.

The port of Durban, one of Africa’s major offshore terminals and the cornerstone of the country’s economic activity, is back in business again. But between 8,000 and 9,000 containers are currently waiting to be unloaded. The severe damage to the road connecting the port to the rest of the country and the continent prevented the passage of 13,000 cargo trucks daily. Several companies witnessed the destruction of their equipment and sites.

Thus, the authorities expect compensation in the hundreds of millions of euros. The first estimate for repairing the road infrastructure alone is approximately 354 million euros. The government last week announced an emergency fund of 63 million euros for the region, which already suffered massive devastation in July during an unprecedented wave of riots and looting.

Some are already concerned about the potential for embezzlement in a country with a long history of corruption: There must be absolute transparency.Claimed Karam Singh, of the NGO Corruption Watch.

Read also: South Africa: Continuation of a report on rampant corruption under Jacob Zuma

South Africa, facing an unprecedented natural disaster, is generally spared the bad weather that regularly hits its neighbors, such as Mozambique or Madagascar.

The world with AFP

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