The number of deaths due to the severe floods that are taking place in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, in eastern South Africa, rose this Sunday (17), reaching 433 victims, in addition to 63 missing, according to information from official sources.
This Sunday, during a press conference, the head of government of the province, Sihle Zikalala, updated the number of victims and reiterated that these floods are “among the worst catastrophes in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in a long time.”
Emergency teams continue to work in the devastated area, which is again on alert this weekend due to rains and winds. Local authorities estimate that the damage in the province is in the millions and that a total of 40,000 people have been affected by the floods since the onset of torrential rains last Monday (11). They also estimate that 3,937 houses were totally destroyed and 8,039 partially damaged.
state of calamity
The South African government declared a state of calamity in the province and sent army troops to assist with emergency work and the search for missing persons. Zikalala said on Sunday that the province will ask the government to consider declaring a state of calamity at the national level due to the magnitude of the tragedy.
The most affected region is the Durban area, which is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest in South Africa. Electricity infrastructure, running water and many medical centers were severely damaged. According to calculations by Mxolisi Kaunda, mayor of Durban, the loss in that municipality alone was quantified last Thursday (14) at 757 million rand (about 50 million euros or R$253 million).
The country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, visited the affected area last Wednesday (13) and said it was a “disaster of enormous proportions”, in addition to directly linking the floods to climate change.