Floods in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province have killed at least 443 people, with dozens more still missing in the south eastern coastal region. Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes. President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a state of national disaster and announced a range of actions geared towards assisting those affected.
In KwaZulu-Natal, 443 individuals are confirmed to have died, with roughly 63 people still missing or unaccounted for. In the Eastern Cape, one death has been recorded in regions near rivers and canals, particularly in informal settlements, where many homes have been carried away.
Over 4,000 homes have been entirely demolished, with another 8,300 homes slightly damaged. More than 40,00 individuals are thought to have been displaced as a result of the floods. According to President Ramaphosa, the floods are a humanitarian tragedy that necessitates a major and immediate relief effort.
Floods have wreaked havoc on public infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and police stations. According to estimates, over 270 000 students have been impacted, and over 600 schools have been damaged. Due to damage to connected roads and bridges, sixteen of these schools are unable to be visited. Six public health care institutions have been impacted, while health services in most affected regions have been disrupted.
The devastation to Durban's port will have an economic impact on the rest of the country. The port is one of the continent's largest and busiest maritime facilities, crucial to the country's economy. The Bayhead Road, which connects the Durban Port Operations to the rest of the country, transporting over 13,000 heavy vehicles on a daily basis, was destroyed.
Response of the Government
The South African government has pledged a one-billion-rand ($68 million) emergency relief fund. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the Deputy Minister of Social Development, said 340 social workers had been deployed to provide help to traumatized survivors, with many children and other relatives still missing.
The South African military has sent over 10,000 troops to assist in relief and rescue efforts. With a total of 247 rescue operations to date, the South African National Defense Force has been in charge of search and rescue efforts. The army is assisting by establishing field accommodation, delivering fresh water through its water purification systems, dispatching electricians to restore power, and dispatching plumbers to restore water supplies in flood-affected districts..
Households can receive financial aid through a voucher scheme to help them reconstruct partially damaged homes. A national team of project managers and engineers has been dispatched to the province to examine the damage and provide reconstruction recommendations. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is scouting for suitable state land for relocation.
Infrastructure South Africa is collaborating with key ministries across the board to give technical assistance for the repair and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and schools.