South Africa is suffering from one of the largest floods in decades over the last few days when heavy rains severely hit nearly all the regions in the country. Hundreds of people were confirmed dead and thousands were left without shelter, water and power. The country’s authorities announced this Friday they are looking for survivors after the floods in South Africa killed nearly 400 people, according to the latest count. More than 40,000 people were affected by the disaster, officials say. At least 140 schools were affected by the floods, according to local officials. The rest reopened their doors this past Wednesday, but there were fewer students.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana told the TV station Newsroom Afrika that initial aid of $68.3 million was available for immediate use after the province was declared a disaster area. Since Tuesday, local TV stations have been showing the damages to infrastructure caused by the floods. The provincial government said the catastrophe “caused untold chaos and caused great damage to lives and infrastructure”.
The national police deployed an additional 300 agents in the region, while the air force sent planes to help with rescue operations.
Torrential rains inundated several areas, destroying homes and destroying infrastructure across the city, while landslides forced the suspension of rail services.
The rains flooded the streets, to where only the top of the traffic lights was visible. The torrents also destroyed several bridges, washed away cars and toppled houses. In addition, a fuel tanker was floating in the sea after being dragged off the road.
Durban is the city that was most impacted by the floods. Flooding in Kwazulu-Natal province knocked out power lines, closed water services and disrupted operations at one of Africa’s busiest ports.
“Our morgues are under pressure, but we are dealing with it. Last night, we received 253 bodies in two separate morgues” in Durban, the largest city in Kwazulu-Natal, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, a representative of the department of province health.
“Our people are injured. It is a catastrophe of enormous proportions,” President Cyril Ramaphosa declared in Durban.
Scientists believe that the floods were caused by a meteorological phenomenon that brought heavy rains to the country. When the storms hit the hotter and wetter climate of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, where Durban is located, it rained even more. They also said that climate change is influencing this meteorological issue. According to them, the southeastern coast of Africa is becoming more vulnerable to violent storms and flooding because emissions of heat-trapping gases cause the Indian Ocean to warm. They expect the trend to dramatically worsen in the coming decades.