Durban, South Africa:
The flood-ravaged eastern South Africa was hit by more rain on Saturday after the deadliest storm to hit the country in living memory, killing nearly 400 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.
Floods this week have engulfed parts of the southeastern coastal city of Durban, tearing apart roads, destroying hospitals and wiping out homes and those trapped inside.
Emergency services in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where Durban is located off the coast of the Indian Ocean, were on high alert.
Rehabilitation operations and humanitarian aid were underway in the city of 3.5 million people, which was normally teeming with Easter holidaymakers this weekend.
The death toll rose to 398 on Saturday, while 27 people were still reported missing, the government said in a statement. More than 40,000 have become homeless.
“Unfortunately, bodies are still being recovered from farms, especially from rural areas,” Shawn Herbst of the emergency company Netcare 911 told AFP.
“There is still damage, especially with the rain we are experiencing today.”
This weekend’s rainfall will not be “as hectic as the past few days,” said Puseletso Mofokeng, forecaster for the South African Weather Service.
More flooding is expected because the soil is oversaturated with water.
Rugby match cancelled
Despite light rain falling over the city, a local Premier League football match between AmaZulu and Maritzburg United took place on Saturday during the 2010 World Cup Moses Mabhida Stadium.
But a Currie Cup rugby match between the local team, the Sharks and the Bulls from Pretoria, scheduled for the city, was canceled on Friday as a mark of respect for the flood victims.
Troops, police and volunteers are leading the search and rescue operation.
Marianhill residents, desperate for news of their missing relatives, were relieved to see rescue workers, but fears of fresh rain lingered.
“We’ve finally got the rescue team…to get here, but if we see the rain coming back, they’ll be disrupted,” Dumisani Kanyile said after recovery teams couldn’t find any of the 10 members of a family who went missing in the district. durban.
Mesuli Shandu, 20, a close relative of the family, was still in a state of disbelief “that an enormous number of people died in one day, including babies”.
“When I came I thought it was a dream, maybe someone would pinch me and say it was a dream, just wake up.” But “I see all the rescuers and the dogs searching for their bodies”.
Six days after the floods first hit, hopes of finding survivors are fading and Durban’s emergency medical services spokesman Robert McKenzie said the response was now focused on recovery and humanitarian aid.
“We have moved from the emergency phase to the recovery phase of the disaster, more towards humanitarian relief and recovery of services,” he told AFP.
Survivors are still desperate for missing relatives.
The floods damaged more than 13,500 homes and completely destroyed about 4,000, leaving 58 hospitals and clinics “seriously affected,” the government said.
Clean water is scarce and authorities have promised to deploy water tankers. Residents used shopping carts to carry buckets of water.
The government has announced a billion rand ($68 million) for emergency aid.
Patrice Motsepe, the head billionaire of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), made what he called a “humble contribution” of 30 million rand ($2.0 million, 1.9 million euros).
“Our people are suffering,” Motsepe said in a room where IDPs are received.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has postponed a working visit to Saudi Arabia that was set to begin Tuesday, his office said.
“The loss of nearly 400 lives and thousands of homes, as well as the economic impact and destruction of infrastructure, require all hands on deck,” Ramaphosa said.
South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized country, is still struggling to recover from the two-year-old Covid pandemic and deadly riots last year that killed more than 350 people, mostly in the now flood-stricken southeastern region.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)