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Difficult search for missing after devastating floods

Difficult search for missing after devastating floods

Difficult search for missing after devastating floods

Searches continued Thursday in South Africa to find people missing after the catastrophic floods which left more than 300 dead, many inhabitants finding themselves on their own while waiting for the arrival of help facing difficulties of access. A final report Wednesday evening reported 306 dead. Most of the victims were recorded in the region of Durban, a major African port in the province of Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) and epicenter of the bad weather which began last weekend. A state of disaster has been declared. The authorities spoke of “one of the worst storms in the country’s history”, President Cyril Ramaphosa on the spot Wednesday deplored “a disaster of enormous proportions”. Men and women drowned. Children and babies have died buried in landslides.

The area is isolated

The rains, which reached levels not seen for more than 60 years, also washed away bridges, roads and isolated a large part of the region bordering the Indian Ocean. More than 200 schools have been affected, thousands of homes destroyed. “Interventions are hampered by damaged infrastructure networks,” the provincial government acknowledged in a statement. With diggers, some roads were reopened in the morning but most secondary roads are still inaccessible, strewn with debris or drowned in brownish water. The authorities have asked people to avoid as much as possible any contact with this water potentially “contaminated by sewage, oil or other dangerous substances”.

Climate change is having an impact in South Africa

In the township of Amaoti in northern Durban, where most homes are made of corrugated iron sheets or planks of wood, clusters of people were filling buckets with drinking water drawn from drains exposed after the collapse of a gigantic stretch of road. The heavy rains led to water and electricity cuts. Local authorities have appealed for donations of non-perishable food items, water bottles and anything else that could keep you warm. Further looting has been reported. NGOs have also mobilized to provide food, clothing and blankets. “Climate change is violently unfolding before our eyes. It is not imminent, it is happening now,” Greenpeace Africa warned in a statement. In 2019, floods in the region killed 70 people and devastated several villages along the east coast. And in 1995, 140 people were killed in bad weather, according to data compiled by AFP.

Source: 20minutes

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