Africa World

Fri 15 April 2022:

Floods that have swept parts of South Africa’s eastern coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal have caused immense damage leaving hundreds in desperation.

Residents of the eThekwini district are faced with a severe shortage of drinking water forcing them to scramble for water from broken water pipes and a river to survive.

Footage broadcast on local televisions Thursday showed dozens of residents of the Amaoti suburb of Phoenix in eThekwini scrambling to collect water in buckets from a broken water pipe near a river that looked eroded as a result of the floods.

They descended from the tip into the valley-like shaped river as they scrambled to collect water putting themselves at a risk of an accident or an impending stampede.

“Our teams (of water engineers) are on their way to go and fix the broken pipes,” eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told reporters on Thursday.

He said water tanks would be distributed to help affected communities.

More than 300 people have so far been confirmed dead in the province, in the country’s worst natural disaster in over 30 years.

Umgeni Water which supplies water to eThekwini and surrounding districts said in a statement that floods have forced them to shut down their plant and no water was being treated or supplied to consumers.

“High levels of turbidity in water entering the water treatment plant at Hazelmere, in the north of Durban, has resulted in a shutdown of the plant,” it said.

– ‘Tough situation’

Abdulla Ali, a resident of Tongaat, north of Durban, told Anadolu Agency via telephone that his neighborhood has been badly devastated.

“We have no electricity, some areas are inaccessible and we are waiting for services to be restored. It’s a tough situation here,” he said.

The Durban port had been shut since Monday as key highways connecting the port had been affected.

Images of falling containers being swept away by the floods were seen at the port. Operators of the port, Transnet, said they were gradually resuming operations at the Port of Durban after the floods.

“We are working tirelessly with our multi-disciplinary teams to fix the roads, get shelter for those whose homes have been damaged,” Kaunda said.

The national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has declared KwaZulu-Natal a provincial disaster area. This means the national government will allocate hundreds of millions of South African rands to help rebuild infrastructure damaged in the floods.

On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected areas and offered condolences to affected families. Dozens of humanitarian organizations across the country have moved to KwaZulu-Natal to offer hot meals, food handouts, medical care and other services to affected communities.






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