Monstrous floods have killed nearly 306 people

It’s about a ” disaster of enormous proportions,” the president said Cyril Ramaphosa, who travels to Durban this Wednesday. the recent floods devastating in South Africa, the worst in the country’s history, killed 306, according to a latest report from the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Emergency Response Agency (KZN). Local authorities said they were dealing with an influx of bodies in morgues. Record rainfall, reaching levels not seen in more than 60 years in this region open to the Indian Ocean since last weekend, has left devastating landscapes.

“The bridges have collapsed. The roads have collapsed. People died. Our people are injured. It is a disaster of enormous proportions,” said the head of state. In places around Durban, landslides have left giant holes in the earth as if split by water currents. Dozens of people are missing, rescuers described as “a nightmare”.

buried families

During his visit, Ramaphosa visited relatives. In Clermont, a poor suburb of Durban, he promised government aid to a father who lost his four children, buried in the collapse of part of their home. Clenched, the man told the head of state about the water that rose in the middle of the night, the electricity had gone out, his children sleeping in another room that he was unable to save.

The rains are expected to gradually decrease in the evening, according to meteorologists. This region, which was massively devastated during an unprecedented wave of riots and looting in July, has already seen less rain. In a humid heat, some were clearing around collapsed buildings. On roads strewn with rubble, others scattered sand to fill gaps, an AFP journalist noted.

“Climate change is getting worse”

Some schools have opened their doors, but the benches have remained largely empty. The army was deployed to provide air support during the evacuations. According to local authorities, thousands of homes were destroyed and at least 140 schools were affected. For several days now, the main roads have also been submerged in a brownish molasses, on which the signs and traffic lights float.

Mountains of branches, bottles and rubbish washed up on Durban’s beaches, which are usually popular with tourists and families. Port activity was discontinued, containers were washed away. Looting has been reported. The heavy rainfall also led to power outages and disrupted water supplies. Rail connections have been suspended and residents are asked to avoid travel.

“We know it’s the climate change What’s worse, we’ve gone from extreme storms in 2017 to supposedly record-breaking floods in 2019, but clearly surpassed today in 2022,” warned Mary Galvin, a professor of development studies at the University of Johannesburg. In 2019, floods in the region and neighboring Eastern Cape province had already claimed 70 lives and destroyed several coastal villages in mudslides.

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