In a two day downpour, parts of KwaZulu-Natal received between 200 and 400 mm of rainfall. The Ethekwini Metro and the districts of iLembe, Ugu, King Cetshwayo and uMgungundlovu were the worst hit.
Originally KwaZulu-Natal was placed under a provincial state of disaster to ensure the rapid response to the crises. However, President Cyril Ramaphosa says that this was inadequate to deal with the scale of the emergency facing the province.
He therefore declared a National State of Disaster in response to the devastation caused by last week's torrential rain and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape
As of Monday, 18 April. 443 people have died while around 50 people are missing or unaccounted for. The floods have also resulted in damage to property, infrastructure and the environment.
The president says the designation as a National State of Disaster enables the mobilisation of more resources, capabilities and technical expertise in providing relief, recovery and rehabilitation to affected communities.
Ramphosa said, “Nearly 4 000 homes have been completely destroyed and over 8 300 homes have been partially damaged. It is estimated that more than 40 000 people have been displaced by these floods. This is a humanitarian disaster that calls for a massive and urgent relief effort”.
The president also revealed that around 600 schools have been damaged and will affect 270 000 learners. In Aaddition to this, more than 15 schools cannot be accessed due to damaged connecting roads and bridges.
Ramaphosa added that the response to the crises will be carried out in three phases.
- Phase one will focus on ensuring that people are safe and their basic needs are met.
- Phase two will centre around rehousing people who have lost homes and restoring provision of services.
- Phase three will focus on reconstruction and rebuilding (this includes the construction of houses in suitably-located areas and measures to protect the residents of these areas from such adverse weather events in the future)