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Home World durban: South Africa flood survivors count cost of devastation as death toll exceeds 300

durban: South Africa flood survivors count cost of devastation as death toll exceeds 300

durban: South Africa flood survivors count cost of devastation as death toll exceeds 300

DURBAN: Residents of South Africa‘s coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal were picking up the pieces on Thursday after one of the worst floods in recent history left over 300 people dead, with hundreds of others displaced and homeless.
The province was declared a disaster area on Wednesday after heavy rains over the weekend flooded homes, washed away roads and bridges and disrupted shipping in one of Africa’s busiest ports, with shipping containers washed away and in some areas looted.
“It is bad, it is bad. We don’t have anything. I don’t even have a bed,” Somi Malizole, a resident of Isiphingo informal settlement, told Reuters as he inspected his corrugated iron shack whose contents had washed away.
Akhona Mfencane, another Isiphingo resident, who was seeking shelter at a community centre, said she fled her house after it was flooded and she was left with nothing.
As of Thursday, Mfencane was still waiting for help from the government.
“The place is always flooding, but this time around it was worse, we have never seen it like that before,” said Mfencane.
On Thursday, residents in some areas scrambled to get clean water from broken pipes and water tanks after municipal services, including electricity, were impacted.
“We don’t have water, we don’t have electricity. It has been tough,” said Thabisile Mathumbu, adding communities were not given advance warning of heavy rains. “We should have been warned.”
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala told eNCA television that infrastructure damage assessments were still ongoing. But the province’s education department said 262 schools were damaged, with a preliminary estimate pegging the cost at over 395 million rand ($27 million).
Africa’s southeastern coast is on the front line of seaborne weather systems that scientists believe are worsening because of global warming. They expect the situation to get far worse in the decades to come.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who visited the province on Wednesday, described the disaster as “a catastrophe of enormous proportions”, adding it was “obviously part of climate change”.
“We no longer can postpone what we need to do, the measures we need to take to deal with climate change. Our disaster management capability needs to be at a higher level,” Ramaphosa told a crowd in Ntuzuma township in Durban, without elaborating.
The floods struck as the province recovers from days of arson and looting last year in which more than 300 people died. While the unrest was in several parts of the country, KwaZulu-Natal was the hardest hit with several businesses disrupted.
Diversified property group Fortress REIT said, as of Wednesday, four of its logistics and industrial properties have been impacted, but there was no significant structural damage.
Retailer Truworths said on Tuesday 37 of its stores were closed but “things more or less returned to normal in our stores and with our manufacturers” the next day.
Mobile network operator MTN said on Wednesday it was able to bring back into operation over 278 sites, which include towers, in Umlazi and Amanzimtoti. But intermittent rain was making recovery challenging and has also resulted in additional sites going down, it added.
Logistics and freight operator Transnet, pulp and paper maker Sappi and budget clothing retailer Pepkor also had operations disrupted.

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