The death toll from flooding on South Africa’s east coast has increased to 443, including a rescuer, an official said on Sunday. “The dead toll now stands at 443,” said Sihle Zikalala, the KwaZulu-Natal premier, adding 63 others remain unaccounted for.
A member of the rescue team “had difficulty breathing and was transported to the hospital.” Sadly, he died “.
The flood-ravaged east was starting to dry up, allowing search and rescue operations to resume after one of the worst storms on record.
The “inclement weather” has “hampered our evaluation and rescue activities on the ground, but we are back in full swing.”
Floodwaters flooded portions of Durban and its surrounding areas early last week, ripping apart highways, wrecking hospitals, and sweeping away residents.
“Rainfall is actually clearing,” stated Puseletso Mofokeng of the South African Weather Service. “The rain will stop totally by Wednesday,” he told AFP.
The city’s beaches and balmy Indian Ocean waters would ordinarily be packed with Easter visitors, but recovery efforts and humanitarian aid persisted. Flood-related emergency calls were down from early last week.
“Emergency services are still on high alert Sunday morning,” said AFP’s Robert McKenzie. “It rained all day Saturday and overnight,” McKenzie added. Even so, emergency personnel were busy attending to a house collapse in Pinetown.
“Flood waters have retreated and (some) highways are clear. It’s much easy to connect “stated he
On Easter Sunday, Christians gathered in churches across the city and beyond to pray for flood victims.
“It’s a tragedy of tremendous proportions,” remarked Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town in his Easter message. “The community is in serious emotional distress,” said Makgoba, Desmond Tutu’s successor.
The government, churches, and charities were mobilising aid for the 40,000 people displaced by the floods. Emergency funding of one billion rand ($68 million) has been announced.
HOSPITAL AND SCHOOL
So far, 340 social workers have been sent to assist devastated survivors, many of whom still lack children and other relatives.
Most deaths happened in Durban, a major port and commercial centre. Since Monday, parts of the city have been without water and electricity due to flooding. Hundreds of schools and clinics have been devastated.
The floods’ strength surprised South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy. While flooding has occurred in the Southeast before, the damage has never been this catastrophic. South Africans have seen similar catastrophes in nations like cyclone-prone Mozambique.
Due to the rains, President Cyril Ramaphosa had to postpone a working visit to Saudi Arabia scheduled for Tuesday.
It need “all hands on deck” to combat the loss of hundreds of lives, thousands of homes, and destruction of infrastructure, added Ramaphosa. The country is still recovering from the Covid pandemic and last year’s riots that killed over 350 people, especially in the now-flooded southeast.