The devastating floods that devastate South Africa have already caused 259 deaths and constitute a “catastrophe of enormous proportions”, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who visited Durban, the epicenter of the storm, today.
South Africa | Floods caused by torrential rains that have worsened since last Friday caused widespread destruction in the southeast of the country and caused the death of 259 people, according to the latest report by the authorities of the province of Kwazulu-Natal, heard by the France-Presse agency.
The floods are the worst in the country’s history, registering levels of precipitation never seen in the last 60 years and increasing pressure on morgues, overloaded with corpses.
The South African President visited the scene and declared:
“The bridges have collapsed. The roads have collapsed, people have died. Our people are injured. It is a catastrophe of enormous proportions.”
Dozens of people are missing, in what rescuers say is a “nightmare”, and local authorities have already requested a proclamation of the state of natural disaster.
During his visit, Cyril Ramaphosa visited bereaved families, having promised government aid to a father who lost his four children, buried in the collapse of part of his house in the impoverished suburb of Clermont.
In certain places around Durban (now eThekwini), landslides left giant gaps in the ground, due to torrents of water, reports the French agency.
“In 48 hours, more than 450 millimeters of precipitation fell in certain areas,” said Dipuo Tawana, one of many meteorologists who have compared these levels to “normally associated with cyclones.”
Precipitation had been scarce and meteorologists now predict that rains will slowly decrease at night, easing pressure on the region, which, along with the neighboring Eastern Cape province, had already suffered flooding in 2019, resulting in 70 deaths and several coastal villages devastated by landslides.
The army was mobilized to provide air support during the evacuations, as main roads have been submerged in brownish mud for several days, over which traffic signs and traffic lights float.
Heavy rains also led to power cuts and interrupted water supplies, with rail connections suspended and residents advised to avoid displacement.
Heaps of twigs, bottles and debris were washed onto Durban beaches, which are usually populated by tourists.
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