The Durban floods, which damaged hundreds of homes and claimed the lives of at least 32 people, have summoned President Cyril Ramaphosa to KwaZulu-Natal.
Torrential rainfall in the region has had a devastating impact on low-lying areas and communities adjacent to rivers. Both rural and urban settlements have been adversely affected, with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and local government structures conducting urgent relief efforts in the area to minimise casualties.
The damage done by the Durban floods
— Kailene Pillay (@kailenepillay) April 23, 2019
According to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Nomsa Dube-Ncube, over 2000 emergency calls had been answered. Dube-Ncube added that the risk of flash-flooding still remained high and, as such, urged motorists to exercise caution when travelling in and around Durban.
President Ramaphosa rushes back to Durban
Arrived back home and flew to KwaZulu-Natal to assess the damage caused by the floods and review the recovery efforts. Our thoughts are with the affected communities in KZN and Eastern Cape. I urge those living in the affected areas to take extra caution in this period. pic.twitter.com/xjhJmEe08G
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) April 24, 2019
President Ramaphosa, who was attending the African Union Troika Summit in Egypt, made a hasty return to South Africa to assess the damages in KwaZulu-Natal. Arriving back from the conference in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Ramaphosa announced that he would be investigating the flood-stricken region, saying:
“Arrived back home and flew to KwaZulu-Natal to assess the damage caused by the floods and review the recovery efforts. Our thoughts are with the affected communities in KZN and Eastern Cape. I urge those living in the affected areas to take extra caution in this period.”
While Durban’s average April rainfall sits at 71mm, a
massive 235mm of rain fell in just 48 hours, leading to widespread flash-flooding,
mudslides and rock falls. Durban South, Mount Edgecombe, Virginia, Port Edward
and Pennington South all recorded over 100mm of rainfall on Monday.
Autumn rain soaks South Africa
Other parts of the country have also been battered by
incessant rainfall. Intense relief efforts are currently underway in the Eastern
Cape town of Port St Johns.
In contrast, rainfall in the drought-stricken Karoo, particularly in Beaufort West, was received with open arms.
While Durban has been afforded a reprieve, more rainfall is
expected in the interior of South Africa on Wednesday.