South African Floods Kill 395, one of the Deadliest Flooding Events in South African History

Subtropical Depression Issa formed after the system moved off the South African coast. 395 are confirmed dead from the flooding of the storm.

Devastated from the destruction brought by Cyclone Issa, survivors have to carry on as authorities reported that the death toll from widespread floods in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province grew to 395. In addition, 40,723 people have been affected; 6,000 homes damaged, in which 240 were schools. Despite intense search for bodies from the landslides and floods, there isn’t an official number of missing persons from the authorities.

 

KwaZulu-Natal province Premier Sihle Zikalala said that the storm’s damage would run into billions of South African Rand. He added that floods were an “unprecedented disaster in the history of our province and perhaps our country”. Weather experts say some areas received more than 45cm (18 inches) in 48 hours, amounting to nearly half of Durban’s annual rainfall of 101cm (40 inches).

 

The province was declared a disaster area on Wednesday after immense amount of rainfall rain over the weekend and Monday flooded homes, washed away roads and bridges, and disrupted shipping in one of Africa’s busiest ports, with some shipping containers washed away and others looted. 

 

Residents affected by Cyclone Issa were furious at the lack of aid and caused sporadic protests. Authorities ask residents for patience. Adding they “are working as quickly as we can. Our teams are hard at work to resume services.” But they said it may take a while to fully restore all services because of the extent of the damage to access roads. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited flood-hit areas on Wednesday and described the destruction of the storm “a catastrophe of enormous proportions”, adding it was “obviously part of climate change”. He added that disaster management capability needs to be at a higher level.” Some communities disagree and said poor drainage and building standards have increased the scale of the disaster. 

Feature image courtesy of Voice of America News. No copyright infringement intended, falling under the Fair Use Copyright Act of 1976.

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