South Africa Deploys Troops to Help Those Affected by Durban Floods
South Africa Declares National Emergency after catastrophic flooding in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal province
The sun is again shining in Durban but the devastation caused by the floods is still present. Last week’s catastrophic flooding in the eastern city of Durban and neighboring KwaZulu-Natal province destroyed 4,000 homes. The prolonged rainfall that lead to Durban floods also displaced around 40,000 people from their homes.
Hence, authorities in South Africa declared a natural emergency in the wake of things. The country has also allotted $67 million in relief aid, and the amount will go to those suffering in any way due to the Durban floods. Even 10,000 military troops are deployed for Operation Chariot to offer rescue efforts, clothing, food, and water to all victims of the flood. The troops will also continue searching for the survivors and rebuild the damaged bridges and roads. Moreover, some teams are also working on restoring electricity in the major affected areas.
Extensive flood damage
The municipality, Swathes of eThekwini, in Durban is now without water or power for many days. More areas suffered huge damage that will take much longer to repair. Many streets are still slathered in mud, while the main roads are now clear for sending water tankers and food supplies to the flood victims.
But eThekwini deputy mayor Philani Mavundla said in a television interview that 80 percent of the city’s waterworks were down, making it difficult to even fill the tankers. However, the loss of lives is unrecoverable for the victims’ families. Even around 271,000 students may not be able to continue studies due to damaged schools.
While the country is still under the stress of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, this flood-stuck southeastern region has caused another big concern. The authorities are worried about the huge setback that the pandemic and now this flooding incident have left on the country.
Who’s to blame for the Durban floods?
According to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the flooding on April 18 is a harsh reminder of climatic changes that are fueling such extreme weather conditions.
However, certain citizens on social media are blaming the poor urban planning in these regions for this natural disaster. Even the ailing infrastructure has made the whole situation worse, as per a few citizens. Durban and surrounding regions were already at risk of floods due to construction on hilly terrain. Moreover, major communities were living in regions under the flood line.
African Greenpeace campaigner’s solution
According to Mongabay – Thandile Chinyavanhu, a Greenpeace campaigner has demanded the South African President put in more effort on the ground, rather than declaring a national emergency after the floods.
Greenpeace Africa is now demanding President Ramaphosa release resources for executing contingency plans. It can reduce the risk of further harm in the future. Moreover, the government must also work on making South Africans adaptable to rapid climatic changes.