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‘Unprecedented’ floods kill 341 people in South Africa

‘Unprecedented’ floods kill 341 people in South Africa
‘Unprecedented’ floods kill 341 people in South Africa
Written by Harry Johnson

With roads and bridges in southeastern South Africa washed away by ‘unprecedented’ floods this week, local rescuers battled to deliver supplies across the city of Durban, where residents have been without power or running water for the last four days.

Today, the death toll from the floods climbed to 341 as the rescuers spread out across the southeastern city of Durban in a feverish search for survivors.

According to Sihle Zikalala, premier of KwaZulu-Natal, a total number of 40,723 people have been affected by the disaster with 341 fatalities recorded so far.

“The level of devastation of human life, infrastructure, and service delivery network in the province is unprecedented,” Sihle Zikalala said.

The government has given no indication of how many people are missing. Zikalala predicted the bill for damage will run into billions of rand.

One day after the rains finally subsided, fewer survivors were being found, said director for the volunteer-run organization Rescue South Africa. From 85 calls on Thursday, he said his teams had found only corpses.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the region a state of disaster to unlock relief funds. Authorities said they established 17 shelters to accommodate more than 2,100 displaced people.

Ramaphosa described the disaster as “a catastrophe of enormous proportions,” adding that it was “obviously part of climate change.”

The government of KwaZulu-Natal province has also put out a public call for aid, urging people to donate non-perishable food, bottled water, clothes and blankets.

Weather experts say some areas received more than 45cm (18 inches) in 48 hours, amounting to nearly half of Durban’s annual rainfall of 101cm (40 inches).

The South African Weather Service issued an Easter weekend warning of thunderstorms and localized flooding in KwaZulu-Natal and neighboring Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.

South Africa is still struggling to recover from the two-year-old COVID pandemic and deadly riots last year that killed more than 350 people.

About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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