South African Authorities on Friday announced the release of emergency funds to assist tens of thousands of people who have been left without shelter, water, or electricity as a result of a deadly flood that washed away homes and highways on the country’s east coast, killing more than 300 people.
Enoch Godongwana, the Finance Minister, told reporters that an initial 1 billion rand ($68.30 million) for disaster aid of the flood was ready for immediate use.
Floods in Kwazulu-Natal Province this week knocked out power lines, shut down water services, disrupted operations at one of Africa’s largest ports, and strewn debris across highways and beaches.
Godongwana said; “We are still at an emergency relief stage. There is a need for speed in this matter,”
“The first phase is to get professionals to make an assessment of the damage and the cost. The second phase is going to be a recovery and repair.”
Volunteers cleaning up plastic containers, bamboo stacks, and driftwood from the Durban shoreline were broadcast on local television channels. On Friday, ministers were expected to arrive in Durban to evaluate the damage.
Local authorities estimate that 341 people have died as a result of the rains, a figure that could climb as they assess the full scope of the damage. A total of 40,000 persons have been impacted. On Wednesday, the province was declared a disaster area, allowing emergency aid funding to begin pouring.
Scientists believe the Indian Ocean is hitting Africa’s southern coast with more powerful storms and floods as it warms due to human emissions of heat-trapping gases, a trend that is set to accelerate drastically in the coming decades.
Climate activists in the area are advocating for more investment in adaptation to help communities better prepare for weather disasters.
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