From #CycloneIdai to #DurbanFloods: The Internet Plays the Blame Game

A similar high alert for dangerous weather has been sent out in Tanzania, Mozambique and parts of Zimbabwe
durban floods

Just over one month into the aftermath of the calamitous natural disaster that was Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, the region was hit by a second tragedy in the form of torrential rains in Durban, South Africa.

The floods caused by the heavy rainfall have claimed a death toll of 70 people so far, and have left a devastating trail of destruction. The South African Weather Service has asked residents to remain on high alert, as more abnormally heavy rainfall has been forecast.

A similar high alert for dangerous weather has been sent out in Tanzania, Mozambique, and parts of Zimbabwe as another tropical cyclone, Cyclone Kenneth has been forecast to make landfall today. Cyclone Kenneth has already stormed through the Comoros Islands.

The quick succession of these events and the magnitude of the negative impact they have left behind has generated intense conversation, people want to know why we aren’t prepared for when nature strikes.

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With the hashtags #CycloneIdai and #DurbanFloods trending continuously on Twitter, the conversation has shifted its focus from the damage done by these unstoppable forces of nature. Citizens on social media are seeking to understand why our nations are not prepared for these types of incidents.

In the case of #DurbanFloods, the government is coming under fire for allegedly creating substandard settlements which left locals vulnerable to the extreme weather elements. “Human Settlements has much to answer for over the appalling placement and conditions of RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses that collapsed in many areas.

The damage to roads and bridges as a result of the storms could have been prevented if the appropriate preventive measures were put in place,” said Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Kwa-Zulu Natal based political party, Inkatha Freedom Party.

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On Twitter, Marketing Practitioner @ms_tourist wrote:

In the case of #CycloneIdai, similar questions were fired towards the government via social media.

@zenzele tweeted at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information:

durban floods

To which the Ministry of Information responded:

durban floods

This year’s #DurbanFloods are a recurrence of a similar incident in 2017 when parts of the area were devastated by torrential rain. In comparison, cyclones of such magnitude as #CycloneIdai have been extremely rare in the history of both Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In both cases, it is understandable that citizens would be emotional about the immense losses endured and would want to hold someone responsible.

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As the continent waits on the landfall of Cyclone Kenneth to storm, all are hopeful that these heartbreaking experiences have been practical teachers.

According to AFP, some shacks have already been destroyed in the capital of Comoros Islands, Moroni. Uprooted trees and power lines are currently the only incident reports as citizens heeded calls to take shelter in safe areas.


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